Treasured memories sustain me and my sweet story to follow is filled with metaphors. Camellia flowers remind me of my beautiful blossoming daughter. The life cycle of hummingbirds are touching, as I watch my three children spread their wings and fly. It is simply a joy to share my heart musings, imagery and songs.

The lyric line for my blog title came from my song “Alabaster Seashell.” I have been working steadily on creating solo piano meditations for many of my songs. Below is a recent track that will be part of a new medley on Insight Timer.

More about “Alabaster Seashell” is at this link: ALABASTER SEASHELL

This is a treasured memory from a year ago. My daughter and I braved a beach outing during the pandemic. We didn’t hug and our selfies were “distant.”

Recently, my daughter took photos of me so I’d have some new profile pictures for Insight Timer. I really love how my butterfly earrings are “ultra-visible” on the right side. I love butterflies!

As I’ve gotten older I’ve observed the passage of time has sped up. Like getting closer to finishing a roll of toilet paper, the remainder seems to unwrap faster and faster. When a week goes by it feels like only a day.

I anticipated my daughter’s visit for several months, but now it’s a blur that already happened. She left two weeks ago and here I am wondering how it flew by so quickly.

Emotionally, I am filled with hopefulness about the future. Recent hugs with vaccinated friends is a blanket of love that wraps around my heart. I was surprised that I could live without hugs for so long.

I’ve noticed that even the smallest things can infuse joy into my life. The tiny hummingbird nest on my patio has been such a gift.

Every day, I look out of my dining room window at the lovely camellia bush my mother planted when I was a baby. Because I live in the same home where I grew up, I am surrounded by childhood memories.

My mother was always so proud of her camellias. Once it was a tiny bush, but now it bordered upon being a tree. Even though it was neglected for years, somehow it managed to survive.

The pandemic threatened to crush creativity in my life, but somehow tidbits of inspiration peeked through. Last summer, I rediscovered my love for art by painting simply for the fun of it. Even my most tedious paintings were satisfying.

Each time I began something new, I was excited about what it would become. And when I finished and cut the paper off my watercolor board, I relished the feeling of completion.

I was never really sure what my next painting might be, but I always had ideas swirling in my mind. It was springtime during the Pandemic when I decided the camellias would become my next subject. Those first buds and vivid pink blooms were magnificent.

I was immersed in my painting for several weeks. It was during that time when I was finally ready to get a haircut. The isolation was wearing on me and I decided to take a chance. Lightening my heavy hair would definitely give me a lift.

My stylist and I wore masks as she trimmed my wild hair on the patio. Almost immediately, she noticed the beautiful camellias. I told her I would show her my painting in progress when she was finished.

But then, her sharp eyes noticed something. “Judy! There’s a tiny bird’s nest on that branch.”

She pointed. I stood up and we both walked closer. The nest was unmistakable and two tiny beaks were pointing skyward.

For several weeks after that I watched the birds grow. Then one day they were gone.

I love this picture of the baby bird on its last day in the nest. At that time, the camellias were still blooming and created such a beautiful backdrop.

Every so often I looked inside the empty nest. My heart jumped with joy when a week later I saw two tiny eggs inside. The cycle was beginning again!

Now a large hummingbird mom was sitting on the eggs throughout the day. Her eyes darted at me whenever I stepped into the yard. I was careful to stay away and worried whenever it was windy. I prayed the nest and eggs wouldn’t be dislodged.

Weeks later, two tiny beaks were once again visible. I saw them being fed by their mother and it was beautiful. Watching was a connection to motherhood, as well as to memories of my own mother.

I was delighted when I finally finished my camellia painting. I knew my mom would have loved it.

More about my painting can be found by clicking on this image.

I have three adult children and my youngest son lives with me. Last September, my 27-year-old daughter moved across the country, from California to Minnesota.

I missed her and tried to cope with the uncertainty of our length of separation. She was incredibly homesick, living far away from friends and family in a frozen area. It was a frigid season she’d never experienced. We spoke and texted often.

My child bemoaned that winter would never end. For her, time moved slowly. Eventually she bought a plane ticket, and we both couldn’t believe she would be visiting me. Though it was months away, time rapidly zipped toward the date for me.

I told her about the baby hummingbirds. Each day they were getting bigger and I hoped she would get to see them. The day before her arrival, one of the birds stood up and began flapping its wings. The next morning, it was gone.

Her flight was scheduled to land in the late afternoon. The traffic on the way to the airport was terrible, but listening to my newest meditation music kept me calm. I did wonder how I would find her when I finally pulled up to her terminal. But suddenly, there she was standing at the curb. She jumped into my car and we quickly hugged. I was overwhelmed with joy.

Afterwards, we dined at an outdoor restaurant near the beach; it was one of my first meals out in over a year. I was in heaven and this was definitely a treasured memory. There was so much to catch up on and yet we didn’t have to say much at all.

We came back to my place and she began to unpack. In the twilight, I pointed out the hummingbird nest through the dining room window. We both tiptoed outside, hoping for her to see the baby bird.

I was elated; it was still there! The tiny hummingbird was flapping its wings to practice. It was getting ready to start a new life of freedom. Would it still be there the next morning?

After breakfast, my daughter and I were treated to unforgettable entertainment as the baby bird practiced flying.

It squeaked as it flew to another branch. Then it rested and flew back to a branch closer to the nest. Suddenly, the mother appeared. She landed right next to her baby and inserted her elongated beak into its mouth. Learning to fly required sustenance! My daughter and I were enthralled.

A few hours later, the mother bird and her baby were gone. Once again, the nest was empty.

I realized the cycle of life was infused within that camellia bush. I wished my mother could have known how special her bush still was. I smiled as I imagined her watching from above.

My daughter’s visit flew by. One moment we were waiting for a date on our calendars, and then in an instant – she was here and gone.

There were lovely memories and emotional moments. There were tears of joy, tears of frustration, and tears of acceptance. Our weekly visits ended when she left California last fall. Our new reality was that we would be separated by distance, but not in our hearts.

She left the day after Mother’s Day. Originally, she was going to leave a few days earlier but she extended her stay to be there with me for that holiday. I was grateful.

It was still dark when I dropped her off at the airport shuttle bus station. One last hug and then it was over until our next adventure. I felt a little sad, but I was also looking forward to falling back into my familiar routine.

My apartment was quiet when I came in.  The early morning sunlight streamed through my patio window casting a golden glow. I found myself drawn to step outside.

I perched upon a step stool so I could better peek into the hummingbird nest. Slowly, a smile spread across my face and my heart danced.

There were two tiny eggs inside.

About Judy

I'm an illustrator by profession. At this juncture in my life, I am pursuing my dream of writing and composing music. Every day of my life is precious!
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  1. Who I am says:

    What a beautiful story and photos. I am in love with birds. I own zero but love listening to and watching them. Your paintings are purely divine. Hugs

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Judy This was absolutely beautiful. I love how you are able to express every feeling that you have, you have a gift I love how when I read your words I can imagine the picture that you are painting You are amazing and I love you my friend!! I hope that soon we can get together Make it a good Thursday Stacey ________________________________

    Liked by 2 people

    • Judy says:

      Oh, Stacey, thank you so much for your comment. I loved hearing that my words painted a picture! That is what I strive for and I did it then – so you made my day! Yes, I hope we can see each other soon and I wish you a wonderful day, as well. Much love!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. kegarland says:

    Everything about this is beautiful, and guess what? I listened to your song while I read, and guess what again? It ended just as I ended the last word! I really enjoyed reading about the birds, the nest, your children, time, etc. It’s all related. Maybe that was part of the collective lesson of last year. Time can be fleeting, even when we think it’s not.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Judy says:

      Katherin, that is fantastic how the music played until you reached the end. I love hearing that. I actually did the same thing when I did a last minute edit. I didn’t plan it that way, but appreciate hearing how it worked for you – thank you for sharing with me.
      Yes, about our lessons from the pandemic. It seemed like time stretched endlessly, but there were many fleeting moments that I’ll never forget. We can hardly imagine how precious time is – until we run out of it.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Sandy Shanin says:


    This was such a sweet and wonderful story.

    I absolutely love the story about the hummingbirds. I have a few at our home. One seems to fly up at very pertinent moments.

    I didn’t know you were living in the home where you grew up. I’m sure you told me at one time, but I forgot.

    So that picture with the hummingbird and the camellias—I love it. At first, I thought you’d painted it.

    I’m glad you’re feeling hopeful. I am too. Little by little, I’m opening my mind to new possibilities, while allowing myself to have the time I need.

    Sending a big hug and I bet we’ll be able to share one in person soon. love,


    Liked by 2 people

    • Judy says:

      Thank you so much for this beautiful comment, dear Sandy! I did work to improve the photo of the hummingbird with the camellias. I planned to turn it into a painting, but I wanted to take a break from painting something that ambitious. Those camellias were hard work!
      I look forward to when we can hug. It will be great. I appreciate your comment so much and it was great to hear from you!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I waited all day to read your post, because I wanted to sit back and savor every word of it — and I did! Playing in the background was your incredible Alabaster Seashell music. I couldn’t think of a more relaxing, enjoyable evening to spend! Your daughter is just as beautiful as you are and I loved hearing about your visit and about the visiting hummingbirds. The camellia painting, BTW, is incredible. Your mom would definitely be so proud! I also loved the toilet paper metaphor. As you can tell, I loved ever last word–and the ending blew me away. Have a nice evening, my friend. xo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Judy says:

      I had a wonderful evening and thank you so much for your loving comment, Stacy! I’m glad my story with music and pictures could be sweet entertainment – I love it! I used to write much more often for my blog, but now it takes me awhile to gel everything together into a coherent post. I spent a lot of hours combing over this one and it felt really good at the end.
      And thank you so much for catching my live performance tonight – I was so happy you could hear “Alabaster Seashell” with words at the end. Your support really touches me, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ann Coleman says:

    Every single time I see one of your paintings, I have to look closely at it to make sure it’s not a photo! I have no idea how you do that, but it is very impressive. But mostly, I’m so glad that you’re feeling hopeful again and had such a lovely visit with your daughter. What a wonderful sign those hummingbird eggs are!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Judy says:

      Thanks so much, Ann. I wonder if I will ever paint the hummingbirds. It would be a lot of work. Right now, I’m working on some cherries.
      Only one of the eggs hatched. But the baby bird is growing really quickly and fills the nest up completely already. It’s been so much fun watching the whole process. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  7. lorriebowden says:

    And the circle of life goes on…and on…
    First I just have to say what a beautiful daughter you have and she looks just like you! I know what you mean about time…we both waited for our children and seemed like it took forever once the plans were made. And then in a blink of the eye…he was here and gone…just like it seems your visit went.
    I love how you captured the baby birds and intricately wove the story with you own. YOU are an incredible writer…and artist. You feel the moments so deeply and have the gift of being able to get us to feel them too! Bravo, Judy! Everything you do, you do with love and intention and that makes the outcome so very special.
    I am happy we connected here and I want you to know that your creativity sparks my creativity…and that is a beautiful thing!!
    Much love, dear Judy ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Judy says:

      Every time you write to me, Lorrie, I feel myself dancing on a cloud. Thank you for your uplifting words!
      We have so many parallels and I know you understand about those fleeting moments with our beloved child.
      Thank you for appreciating my story and by art. I love sharing and my heart is so expanded since connecting with you. I thank you over and over for appreciating my words!

      Liked by 1 person

      • lorriebowden says:

        I am so happy you feel that way, Judy!! And dancing on a cloud!!! This is the true connection that God intended for us all …we give from our soul…receive with our hearts…and our lives are expanded with love!! I am so BLESSITUDE to have connected with you, friend! You are a gift and so generous the way you share from your soul!
        Many Sweet Blessings💜💜

        Liked by 2 people

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