Bits of Joy in March

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #13! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, or tea, or hot chocolate at my coffee station and let’s chat.

My coffee share today includes two recent walks and a monthly review:

  1. Early spring flowers – Shared with Becky’s #BrightSquare, Cee’s FOTD.
  2. St. Andrew’s church – Shared with Dan’s #ThursdayDoors, Patti’s #Lens-Artists 141.
  3. March at a glance – Shared with Denyse’s #LifeThisWeek.

1. Early Spring Flowers

Tuesday March 30, 2021 was sunny with daytime high 17C (63F) and ideal for my walk in the Toronto Music Garden. A variety of bright and cheerful early spring flowers made me smile. Here’s my selection.

Croci

2. St. Andrew’s Church

A second walk was to St. Andrew’s Church, a large and historic Presbyterian church in downtown Toronto. St. Andrew’s was founded in 1830 as the first Church of Scotland congregation in the Town of York. It was first located at the southwest corner of Church and Adelaide Streets but this building was abandoned when it became too small for the expanding congregation.

William George Storm was chosen to be the architect for a larger building. The present building at King and Simcoe Streets was opened for worship in 1876 and is built in the Romanesque Revival style. The geometry of the church’s facade is amazing.

St. Andrew's Church.
St. Andrew’s Church

St. Andrew’s today is a living church. The church interior includes rich and handsomely carved wood, the Gallery Organ and choir loft, and beautiful stained glass windows.

St. Andrew’s manse, located south of the church, is in the Second Empire style with a Mansard roof. Again, the geometry of this building makes it attractive.

St. Andrew’s Manse

3. March At A Glance

We had a mild March with plenty of sunny days and warmer than normal temperatures. Daylight saving started on March 14. Spring arrived on March 20 with clear blue skies and sunshine. The nice weather was ideal for my outdoor explorations.

Health

In March, I cycled, walked, did body weight workouts, practiced meditation and yoga regularly. I started playing disc golf as the weather warmed up.

March was also the month when Ontario entered Wave 3 of the COVID-19 pandemic while the vaccination rollout made small progress. Toronto has been in lockdown since November 2020. I continue the 3Ws to stay safe and healthy: Wash my hands, wear my mask, and watch my distance.

Home

In March, I celebrated virtually with two family members and one longtime friend on their birthdays. I baked a blueberry banana loaf, first of 2021.

To support local businesses, I ordered Pad Thai and curry dishes from Salad King, a new-to-me eatery. The delivery was quick. The food arrived hot and tasty. I got a break from cooking. Win-win-win!

Leisure

Architecture – I visited Campbell House and Osgoode Hall, before St. Andrew’s Church, to satisfy my interest in architecture and history.

Art – I saw amazing ice sculptures at the IceFest 21 A Trip Around The World event, colourful portraits at Femme de Fleur exhibit and attractive art items outside the Gardiner Museum.

Blogs – I hosted four Weekend Coffee Share blog link-ups and participated in several other fun link-ups in March. Great turnout each weekend kept me actively reading blogs and writing comments.

Books – I enjoyed reading 9 books from 5 authors. I’d definitely read more of their books:

  1. Ridgerunner – Gil Adamson. *
  2. Just Listen – Sarah Dessen.
  3. The Moon & More – Sarah Dessen.
  4. This Lullaby – Sarah Dessen.
  5. What Happened To Goodbye – Sarah Dessen.
  6. An Ocean of Minutes – Thea Lim. *
  7. The Suspect – Michael Robotham. *
  8. The Chalk Man – C.J. Tudor. *
  9. The Hiding Place – C.J. Tudor.

Asterisk indicates new-to-me author. I keep track of what I’ve read on my Books in 2021 page. Year-To-Date Reading Totals: 25 books, 10 new authors, and 10 categories.

Languages – I continued taking French and Spanish lessons on Duolingo. They’re fun exercises.

I’m grateful for the bits of joy in March. I look forward to exploring more local places in April.

Happy Easter to those of you celebrating. Enjoy the weekend and keep safe. I’d love to hear your comments.

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146 thoughts on “Bits of Joy in March

  1. Joanne April 2, 2021 / 8:09 am

    Those flowers are just beautiful! I haven’t seen any where we live yet…

    Like

    • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 5:35 pm

      We had a few sunny and warmish days and these lovely spring flowers popped up. A very welcoming sign.

      Like

  2. Denyse Whelan Blogs April 2, 2021 / 8:18 am

    Flowers in Spring are nature’s reward for the tough times in Winter. Lovely, lovely photos. I am someone who is, on my Dad’s side, of Scottish origin and was christened in St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Wollongong NSW in 1950. My Dad, still around, is 97 and called Andrew but is not affiliated with any church any more. Sending Easter greetings to all who celebrate and to those who do not, the extra day or two of holidays is fun. In Australia we have today (nearly gone now at 11.17 pm) Easter Saturday, Easter Sunday and a public holiday on Monday. For us, these days are retirees, it is of less consequence now we are not working. Thanks for #weekendcoffeeshare link up Natalie. Best wishes to you and yours! Denyse

    Like

    • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 5:38 pm

      Denyse, I’m glad you liked my photos. Thank you for sharing your family stories related to Scotland and St. Andrew’s church in NSW, and for linking up with Weekend Coffee Share. Happy weekend to you and yours!

      Like

      • Denyse Whelan Blogs April 7, 2021 / 2:15 am

        Always delighted to see your posts in Life This Week Link up. Thanks for joining in. Looking forward to next week, when we may, should we choose, Share Our Snaps (photos!). Denyse.

        Like

  3. Dan Antion April 2, 2021 / 8:22 am

    I love seeing the spring flowers, Natalie.

    The doors of St. Andrew’s (Church and Manse) are gorgeous. I particularly like the hinges on the church doors. They fit so well with the shape of the door. Great cooperation between crafts. The buildings are remarkable and I’m very happy to read that they are still being used for their intended purpose. Thanks for linking to Thursday Doors.

    Like

    • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 5:42 pm

      Dan, I’m glad you noticed the hinges on the church doors like I did when I took my photos. The architect who designed St. Andrew’s church also designed the iron fence around Osgoode Hall that I shared last week. I thought I’d mention it to you, a door/ building/ history enthusiast 🙂 Thank you for hosting Thursday Doors. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dan Antion April 2, 2021 / 6:13 pm

        Thanks Natalie. Every now and then I run into some information about the architect, something like “…the same guy who designed…” It’s interesting to see how styles and concepts moved from city to city and even country to country.

        Like

        • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 7:54 pm

          Dan, I run into similar situation and find it fun like connecting the dots or figuring out a puzzle. It’s true, too that some styles in one country or continent influenced another country on a different continent, like some architectural styles started in Europe and were brought to Canada.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Ally Bean April 2, 2021 / 8:40 am

    Your flower photos are perfectly lovely. I’m waiting to see such vivid colors here. I am thinking about using Duolingo to learn a little Spanish. Funny you’d mention it here. Kismet? Perhaps the nudge I need to get going. Happy Easter.

    Like

    • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 5:47 pm

      Kismet indeed, Ally. I use the free Duolingo plan. We had a few sunny and warmish days last week and these pretty flowers popped up brightly. Happy Easter!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. leannelc April 2, 2021 / 9:04 am

    Hi Natalie – loved your flower photos and the fact that means that Spring has sprung for you. Enjoy your Easter break – it’s a special time of the year for us as we remember Jesus’ death and resurrection.

    My husband is busy trying to learn French with Duolingo – I enjoy listening to him labouring away at it – he has headphones on so I only hear his side of the lesson 🙂

    Like

    • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 5:50 pm

      Hi Leanne, We had a few sunny and warmish days last week and these pretty flowers popped up brightly. They made me smile. Happy Easter to you and yours!

      Like

  6. midlifestylist April 2, 2021 / 9:05 am

    Happy Easter Natalie. Your spring flowers are stunning. We’re getting ready to plant our winter garden.Its far too hot in summer to grow a decent garden. What a shame you’re still in lockdown. We just had a three day lockdown and everyone thought they would extend it over Easter but they didn’t! I’m lucky to be spending it with my family. Have a lovely weekend, Christina

    Like

    • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 5:57 pm

      Happy Easter, Christina. I’m glad to hear you get to spend Easter with your family. What do you plant in your winter garden? Over here, when it’s winter, it’s too cold for gardening and the ground is hard and sometimes covered with snow or ice. Enjoy the holiday weekend!

      Like

  7. kafkanietworld April 2, 2021 / 9:05 am

    I remember visiting the church when I was in Toronto in 2005 and then 2012. And a visit to Ontario Island … loved your blog. Took me back to the time I was in Toronto.

    And I loved the flowers … just so beautiful

    Like

    • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 5:59 pm

      Thank you for your visit and comment. How wonderful that you visited Toronto twice and remembered St. Andrew’s church and the islands. I’m glad you loved the spring flowers. They’re a delightful sight after winter.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Tina Schell April 2, 2021 / 9:11 am

    Well you are certainly one busy lady Natalie! Enjoyed joining you on your walks and appreciate your adding geometry to the experience! Wishing you a lovely spring

    Like

    • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 6:01 pm

      Geometry is everywhere. No wonder we all need to learn math in school 🙂 Thank you, Tina, for dropping by. Have a great weekend!

      Like

  9. BeckyB April 2, 2021 / 9:26 am

    what a glorious post, and what a joyous March you had. Thank you so much for sharing as part of Bright Square

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 6:04 pm

      Thank you, Becky, for hosting Bright Square. Your photo challenge in April is perfect for Spring and my liking of colours.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Susanne April 2, 2021 / 9:31 am

    How lovely that you are studying languages!!!! I love languages and to learn more. If I had time I would learn more languages.. maybe later. For now I’m working on getting to a higher level of my Italian.
    Your crocos images are gorgeous. Aren’t they they true joys of spring! In many nordic countries, they are the first real sign of spring. When they showed up in my garden in Sweden, I was delighted.

    Like

    • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 6:10 pm

      Susanne, Like you, I’m interested in foreign languages and would learn more, including Italian, if I had more time. How do you learn Italian? Self-study or online courses?

      Croci are signs of spring here, too. They’re such lovely flowers to see after winter. When I saw them, they made me smile. I wanted to share their images on my blog.

      Like

      • Susanne April 2, 2021 / 6:39 pm

        I love that you want to learn Italian! It’s a lovely language, and I’m totally in love with it, and have been for many years. I’ve studied Italian in many ways over the years, mostly real-life courses of different types. I took a long break from really studying it, when I worked as a nurse and didn’t have the time. When I moved to Ireland I took it up again because there was a Swedish univeristy that did online courses. My first year here I studied Italian online. Then I found a conversation class in Cork, and attended that for a while. When the pandemic hit, the class went online, and I’m still there. We meet every week for conversation of different topics (right now it’s different cultural festivals and the likes) and there’s some grammar too, and we always learn new words. It’s a lovely group and we have a lot of fun together. I’m at a quite advanced level but although I don’t learn a lot of new things (the grammar is very good though and I always learn new words), the course is invaluable for helping me to keep the Italian alive. I’ve reconnected with an old friend, we’ve had chats on Zoom, and only then I realised how much the conversation class has helped me to maintain a good level of Italian.

        I haven’t done much self studies but I’m planning to add that to my weekly schedule. Then it will be mainly to repeat course content from 2019, to read books, and write articles myself.
        It’s truly a lovely language, and I definitely recommend to start learning it.

        Like

        • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 8:00 pm

          Susanne, That’s amazing how you’ve learned Italian for many years and kept it alive with your online class. Language skills are “use it or loose it” types of skills. That’s one of the reasons I do daily Duolingo lessons. I enjoy learning French and Spanish, and will start learning Italian at some point. The three languages have many similarities, easy to pick up and for me to mix them up 🙂

          Like

  11. Jill Weatherholt April 2, 2021 / 9:36 am

    The flowers are so gorgeous, Natalie. I’m afraid our newly planted flowers got a little too cold last night when temps went below freezing. This seems to happen every year around Easter. I see you’re a fan of Sarah Dessen. I’ve read all of her books. I enjoy her voice. Have a lovely Easter.

    Like

    • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 6:19 pm

      Jill, Last night was cold here but today it’s sunny and warming up again. I hope the weather improves for your flower plants. Every year I choose an author to read all of his/ her books. This year it’s Sarah Dessen and I’ve read about half of her books to date. I enjoy her voice, too. Happy Easter to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Molly Totoro April 2, 2021 / 9:36 am

    Your flower photos are gorgeous… and inspire me to pick up my “good” camera and walk around our arboretum. I think the last time I used that camera was about two years ago(!) I miss those leisurely walks and communicating with nature through the lens. I’m wondering if participation in a photo blog link-up might help me make good on this intention(?)

    Like

    • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 6:24 pm

      Molly, I’m glad you liked my flower photos. They’re lovely to see after winter. I hope spring has arrived in your area for you to resume your leisurely walks. You could try to join a photo challenge and see how you feel about it.

      Like

  13. Kathleen Howell April 2, 2021 / 10:14 am

    What beautiful flowers! I was happy to see my croci emerge, now just waiting on the daffodils and tulips.. Historic churches are just so gorgeous.. Thanks again for taking us along on another adventure!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 6:29 pm

      Nature is reassuring with its cycles, e.g. croci then daffodils, tulips, etc. I look forward to seeing daffodils and tulips again soon. Thank you, Kathleen, for stopping by. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. dawnkinster April 2, 2021 / 10:27 am

    Lovely pictures! Love those purple and white striped crocus. And man, you read a LOT of books in one month!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 7:00 pm

      Dawn, The striped croci are pretty special. They’re less common than the solid purple or white croci. They’re all lovely to see after winter. My average reading pace this year is 9-10 books per month at about 450 pages per book. I didn’t think that was a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Bear April 2, 2021 / 11:15 am

    Love the photos. I love exploring old churches. They are so beautiful…not like the sterile, depressing ones of the present age. The old ones…. ahhh, they have a feeling, ya’ know. Love this post!

    Like

    • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 7:01 pm

      Thank you, Bear, for your comment. I’m glad you liked my photos. St. Andrew’s church is beautiful and well-maintained.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Retirement Reflections April 2, 2021 / 11:39 am

    Hi, Natalie – Your photography is awesome and a great reminder that Spring has Sprung!
    Especially loved your capturing of the old churches and the bright flowers.
    Wishing you many great ventures ahead in the warmer weather.

    Like

    • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 7:06 pm

      Hi Donna, I’m glad you liked my photos of the bright flowers and St. Andrew’s church. I’m holding on tightly to Spring until June 21. Have a great weekend!

      Like

  17. Cee Neuner April 2, 2021 / 11:52 am

    Beautiful crocus. Such a wonderful post. Thanks for playing along 😀

    Like

    • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 7:09 pm

      Thank you, Cee, for hosting FOTD. I enjoy participating in the photo challenge.

      Like

  18. Laurie April 2, 2021 / 1:32 pm

    I love the photos of the early spring flowers. I think we appreciate them more after a dreary gray and brown winter. The pops of color in my yard look great! So glad to read your March was mild too. Happy Spring!

    Like

    • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 7:14 pm

      I like the colours of spring flowers and the natural cycle from one season to the next. Happy Spring!

      Like

  19. restlessjo April 2, 2021 / 1:39 pm

    The crocus win! Just love them 🙂 🙂 Happy Easter, Natalie!

    Like

    • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 7:15 pm

      They’re pretty and sure signs of spring. Happy Easter, Jo!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 7:19 pm

      I enjoy spring while it’s here. Autumn is a beautiful season, too.

      Like

  20. smkelly8 April 2, 2021 / 3:11 pm

    Lots of joy here! Gorgeous photos. I’d love to see the inside of St. Andrews sometime too.

    Like

    • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 7:22 pm

      Thank you, Susan, for your comment. I have photos of St Andrew’s interior in my archives. I haven’t got time to find and post them.

      Like

  21. pattimoed April 2, 2021 / 3:24 pm

    Hi, Natalie. Your life is busy despite the pandemic! Good for you! I enjoyed your photos from nature and architecture. I keep returning to the two green lawn chairs with a view of the water. I think I’m ready for summer! The shape of the chairs is beautifully highlighted in that shot. I also love the church edifice covered with shadows. Lovely.

    Like

    • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 7:33 pm

      Patti, I’m glad you liked the photo of the green chairs with the lake view. It seems to announce “Cottage time, pause and relax” 🙂 The church edifice is so symmetrical with various shapes so i thought it would be a suitable entry for Geometry. Thank you for hosting Lens-Artists photo challenge.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. sustainabilitea April 2, 2021 / 4:12 pm

    I don’t care whether you posted these for a challenge or not, although I participate in almost all of these. All your shots are lovely and I especially enjoyed the spring flowers. Happy Easter!

    janet

    Like

    • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 7:37 pm

      Thank you, Janet. I’m glad you liked my photos. The spring flowers made me smile when I saw them. Happy Easter!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. wideeyedwanderingspoonie April 2, 2021 / 4:31 pm

    Oh what beautiful crocus! And I love, love the St. Andrews building, those are amazing geometric shapes. 🙂

    Like

    • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 7:38 pm

      Thank you. I’m glad you liked my photos. Have a great weekend!

      Like

    • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 7:40 pm

      Thank you, Suzanne. The mild weather in March made it easy for me to enjoy the outdoors. Have a great weekend!

      Like

  24. Jo April 2, 2021 / 5:26 pm

    Lots to feel joy about in this post – as usual, I’m in awe of your balance. Great pics and good to hear the vaccine rollout is progressing – it’s such a long time to be locked down for.

    Like

    • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 7:44 pm

      The mild weather in March and now Spring make it easier for me to continue enjoying life even in lockdown. Vaccination is ramping up here so that’s good news, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Jennifer Jones April 2, 2021 / 5:37 pm

    Your spring flowers are beautiful Natalie. The ice Sydney Opera House made me smile. Another great week for you. 13 weekend coffee shares already!

    Like

    • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 7:47 pm

      Jennifer, Hard to believe but yes, 13 weekend coffee shares or 25% of the year done already. I’m glad my photo of the ice Sydney Opera House made you smile. Happy weekend!

      Like

  26. Sue from Women Living Well After 50 April 2, 2021 / 6:23 pm

    Happy Easter, Natalie and what a delightful post to read with my morning coffee. You inspire me with all that you do and you really are an ‘explorer’. Have a wonderful April. #weekendcoffeeshare

    Like

    • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 7:49 pm

      Happy Easter, Sue. I’m glad you found my post delightful. I love exploring the various places and spring is a good season to be outside. Enjoy April!

      Like

  27. Ju-Lyn April 2, 2021 / 9:02 pm

    St Andrews is so stunning! I love that you describe it as a “living church”. As much as I enjoy visiting old & historical churches, it’s always uplifting to enter one which is still worshipped in.

    Am so glad to hear you were able to celebrate (although remotely) with friends & family.

    And blueberry banana cake – I don’t think I’ve actually had that combination before …. it must be so very moist!

    Like

      • Ju-Lyn April 4, 2021 / 9:49 pm

        Oooh, thank you for the recipe …. I am popping over now to look at your photos!

        Like

        • Ju-Lyn April 4, 2021 / 10:00 pm

          Your recipe page looks very well loved!
          Ooooh, I see that it was meant to be cranberries & banana – I love cranberries too!

          Like

          • Natalie April 5, 2021 / 7:36 am

            I had frozen blueberries on hand and used them in lieu of cranberries. Same amount. The loaf turned out great. Have fun baking it!

            Like

  28. Erica/Erika April 2, 2021 / 9:18 pm

    Your bright and cheerful Spring flowers make me smile, too, Natalie. Wonderful photos and I appreciate you labelling them. I recall driving by St. Andrew’s church. I appreciate your close up photos. I like your phrase “3W’s.” All of your wonderful habits help keep your brain sharp. I am reading many books lately about our brain. A wonderful post as always. Happy Easter to you, Natalie and your loved ones.

    Like

    • Natalie April 2, 2021 / 10:03 pm

      Erica/ Erika, Our brain plasticity is amazing. You may have read about it. I try to be proactive with my day-to-day activities to stay healthy as long as possible. Happy Easter to you and your family!

      Liked by 1 person

  29. kirstin troyer April 2, 2021 / 10:03 pm

    Oh, those flowers are gorgeous. I love crocus but those squills are so pretty. I wonder if they would grow here in the PNW. I’m going to look them up. I love that old church. WOW. I need to get busy with my spanish on Duolingo. I’m not doing so well. I’d also like to try italian

    Like

    • Natalie April 3, 2021 / 8:06 am

      Kirstin, The blue squills are pretty and grow low on the ground. I do a few French and Spanish lessons every day to keep the languages fresh without them taking too much of my time. Have fun with your Spanish and Italian learning!

      Like

  30. OnceUponaTimeHappilyEverAfter.com April 2, 2021 / 11:14 pm

    Looks like a happy month. Signs of spring everywhere. Hope things will begin to open up even more for you guys in April. We had fertilizer put down this past week and our yard is beginning to turn green. By this time, things are generally much greener in El Paso but we had one cold night a few weeks ago that literally nipped everything in the bud. The Femme de Fleur art is lovely. I am hoping to discover some of the more obscure murals hidden about our city this spring.

    Like

    • Natalie April 3, 2021 / 8:11 am

      Leslie, March was marvellous. Unfortunately, the lockdown here continues until at least May 3. I continue to do what I’ve been doing (wash my hands, wear my mask and watch my distance). I look forward to hearing about what you discover in your city this spring.

      Like

  31. Liesbet @ Roaming About April 3, 2021 / 12:40 am

    Love those flower photos, Natalie. For some reason, I’m enjoying the colorful spring images of fellow bloggers right now. Maybe being in the dry and barren desert for five months has something to do with that! 🙂

    In March, I enjoyed being in Mexico and practicing my Spanish. And, I even had time to read a couple of books. My exercise category could be better. But, we did support a lot of local business in Baja.

    Like

    • Natalie April 3, 2021 / 8:22 am

      Liesbet, I think you’re right that after five months in the desert, it makes you enjoy spring images more. I’m glad you had a terrific stay in Mexico. Having some beach time, warm air, good food and time to read a couple of books, it’s all great.

      Although Toronto has many good restaurants and cuisines, eating out is way more expensive than home cooking. In-person dining is banned until at least May 3 so it’s all take-out or food delivery. I do it as a treat and to support small local restaurants.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. dprastka April 3, 2021 / 1:13 am

    Such a wonderful post and a good idea linking up with Becky’s square challenge, I’m going to join in too! And I love the historic old buildings, definitely a lot of geometry for the lens artists challenge. Maybe I’ll hook up to more than one challenge with one post, I usually put together separate ones. I missed last weekend coffee share since I was out of town. Oh, and the flowers are so beautiful!! Loving spring!! Have a great weekend!! ❤️

    Like

    • Natalie April 3, 2021 / 8:25 am

      Diana, I’m glad you got to visit your family in AZ. I look forward to your coffee share. I blog once a week and put all the challenges that I link up in one post. I may have broken blogging rules 🙂 Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  33. trentpmcd April 3, 2021 / 8:53 am

    Sounds like a great month, despite the return of Covid. Very nice photos of the flowers and church. I hope you are enjoying the weekend and have a wonderful week!

    Like

    • Natalie April 3, 2021 / 9:40 am

      March was great. April is off to a promising start. Vaccination is ramping up here while the lockdown continues so I’m hoping the 2-pronged approach will slow down the spread of the virus and we’ll get some normalcy back. Have a great weekend, Trent.

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Jackie April 3, 2021 / 1:28 pm

    It was busy with birthday celebrations this week. I got out once, but I get my vaccine on Tuesday so I will get out more after that.
    I love St. andrew’s used to walk by it on my way to work.

    Like

    • Natalie April 3, 2021 / 2:49 pm

      Yay to getting your vaccine soon. Happy Easter weekend to you and yours!

      Like

    • Natalie April 3, 2021 / 3:29 pm

      Thank you, Rupali, for your visit and comment. I greatly appreciate it.

      Like

  35. Gary A Wilson April 3, 2021 / 4:24 pm

    With hosting our coffee share, I can’t see where you find the time for all this great exploring. Thanks Natalie.

    Like

    • Natalie April 3, 2021 / 4:43 pm

      I try to do my exploring on weekday mornings and host our coffee share on weekends, LOL. Thanks, Gary, for stopping by. Happy Easter to you and your family.

      Liked by 1 person

  36. csuhpat1 April 3, 2021 / 9:03 pm

    Beautiful flower pics and I love that church. So very beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

    • Natalie April 4, 2021 / 9:56 am

      Thank you, Patrick, for your comment. I’m glad you liked my photos.

      Like

  37. Erica J April 3, 2021 / 9:11 pm

    Love the picture of the flowers and the doors — you’re certainly enjoying a wonderful spring season so far it seems!

    Like

    • Natalie April 4, 2021 / 9:57 am

      Erica, I’m glad you liked my photos. March was great. April is off to a good start so far.

      Like

  38. Sanch @ Sanch Writes April 4, 2021 / 4:12 am

    Beautiful photos as always and lovely to see you had a nice March! As it gets warmer for you, it’s slowly getting cooler here – at least early in the morning and in the evenings. Love the pic of the church! Hope you’re having a lovely long weekend!

    Like

    • Natalie April 4, 2021 / 10:00 am

      Thank you, Sanch, for your comment. I hope you have a lovely autumn. Happy long weekend!

      Like

  39. Astrid April 4, 2021 / 9:07 am

    Those flowers are great. I’m glad the weather was good too. That combination would totally make me smile too.

    Like

    • Natalie April 4, 2021 / 10:01 am

      Spring is here and it’s lovely. Happy weekend to you, Astrid.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie April 4, 2021 / 3:48 pm

      Thank you, John and Susan. I hope you’re doing well in Columbia. Enjoy the weekend!

      Like

  40. Regina Martins April 4, 2021 / 2:07 pm

    It was a busy March. I hope your April is just as amazing. And all those books, wow!
    Hope you’re having an amazing Easter weekend.

    Like

    • Natalie April 4, 2021 / 3:49 pm

      Thank you, Regina. March was a lot of fun. April is off to a good start. Happy Easter weekend!

      Like

  41. Min Write of the Middle April 4, 2021 / 8:28 pm

    Natalie those flowers are just so beautiful!! I’m also loving St Andrews Church – the architecture is gorgeous! I continue to be amazed at how many books you get through! Hope you have a wonderful week! xo

    Like

    • Natalie April 4, 2021 / 8:38 pm

      Hi Min, Reading is one of my regular activities as I don’t watch TV 🙂 Thank you for dropping by. Have a wonderful week!

      Like

  42. Julie April 5, 2021 / 9:29 am

    Gorgeous flowers! I wonder if crocs can handle the heat in SoCal?

    Like

    • Natalie April 5, 2021 / 10:25 am

      I think crocus plants like cool weather. They pop up here in early spring and don’t last long. You can try a few bulbs in spring in SoCal.

      Like

  43. Marsha April 5, 2021 / 11:57 am

    Natalie, you are a multi-talented individual. Hablo Espanol (pardon the lack of tilde and accents), et parle Francais, aussi. Neither of them are super fluent. My Spanish is better than my French because of opportunity to practice and much more recent learning. Your photos are lovely, fabulous actually. I love St. Andrews. it is so difficult to photograph large buildings, and you did it beautifully capturing the personality of the building. BTW, we had crocus plants in Central CA, which is much hotter than SoCal, so Julie should be fine. I love that you keep track of books. I did that for years, but this year I’ve hardly read anything. I got overwhelmed doing book reviews and had so many requests to do reviews that I quit! 🙂 Anyway, I’ve started working on your interview post, so I’ll be browsing around for the next few days. 🙂

    Like

    • Natalie April 5, 2021 / 1:38 pm

      Marsha, I don’t know about multi-talent. I know French and Spanish are useful when I travel. I’m taking Duolingo lessons to not lose what I already know. If I invest more time in French and/ or Spanish, I’ll be more fluent but neither is a priority for me atm.

      Thank you for your compliment about my photos. I use my phone camera to take photos and try not to chop off corners or sides of big buildings like St Andrew’s church 🙂

      I just started keeping track of books I read in the last couple of years. I rarely do book reviews because they take time away from my reading and I prefer not to influence any reader with my reviews. It’s too bad that book reviews overwhelmed you and made you quit. How about you just read for leisure and not do any book review?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marsha April 6, 2021 / 1:04 am

        You are right, of course, I read constantly, but now I’m concentrating more on blogs and less on books. Most recently I read Plunge by Liesbet Collaert. It is a fabulous story about a bloggers journey around the world in a catamaran for several years. Do you know her?

        Like

        • Natalie April 6, 2021 / 9:04 am

          Yes, Liesbet sent me an advanced copy of Plunge to read and review. i wrote my 5-star review on Amazon. I read and leave frequent comments on her blog.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Marsha April 6, 2021 / 10:15 am

            I need to do that. It was a fabulous book! I did a promotional of it, then took my time reading the book. Now that you remind me, I will go do that. Thanks, Natalie.

            Like

          • Marsha April 6, 2021 / 10:19 am

            Done! Thanks again Natalie! 🙂

            Like

            • Natalie April 7, 2021 / 8:23 am

              You’re welcome, Marsha. I look forward to reading the comments on your interview post this weekend.

              Liked by 1 person

                • Natalie April 9, 2021 / 7:49 am

                  Marsha, Thank you for the link to Doug’s story. The coffee and beignets at Cafe du Monde in New Orleans are delicious and great conversation starters.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Marsha April 9, 2021 / 11:59 am

                    I’m glad you didn’t mind me using your picture. Doug is a great guy and I love his writing. Good for you to find his secret clue in the first paragraph. Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

                    Like

  44. msomerville2014 April 5, 2021 / 3:19 pm

    I am so glad you posted here. I did not make it to the Coffee Share this past weekend.. I was tempted. I always enjoy your pictures. There is something so striking about the contrast between the church and the Manse and the buildings that have grown up around them. Pretty sure there is a lesson, or message or metaphor in there somewhere. I am intrigued by the blueberry banana loaf. I love reading recipes, but sometimes I have to be careful not to stare at them too long, les they leap onto my plate and overload my daily calories. Blessings for the day, Michele p.s. See you Friday, metaphorically speaking.

    Like

    • Natalie April 5, 2021 / 4:42 pm

      Michele, Thank you for dropping by. St Andrew’s Church and the Manse and the modern buildings around them really reflect how the city has changed over time. I’m glad the church and the manse are well-maintained.

      I used blueberries that I had on hand instead of cranberries for the loaf. I seldom bake because I moderate my treats. Here’s the blueberry banana loaf recipe and photos I posted: https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/2020/07/05/june-smiles-and-summer-week-2/

      I hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend. Have a great week. See you Friday!

      Liked by 1 person

      • msomerville2014 April 5, 2021 / 7:30 pm

        Thanks for sharing the link. I remember seeing it earlier. Funny t hing is I have LOADS of cranberries on hand, but I too am trying to limit. Still going strong on the weight loss, 3lbs to go. Everything I bake gets calorie and carb counted and in portions in the freezer. Thanks again, see you Friday.

        Like

        • Natalie April 5, 2021 / 8:06 pm

          Congrats on your weight loss achievements, Michele. Stay focused. The cranberries can wait 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  45. Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid April 5, 2021 / 5:16 pm

    That’s a long time to be in lockdown but you always make the best of it. Awesome pics as always and yay for take aways! I think we had more take aways in lockdown than I’ve had in the 13 years I’ve lived in Australia! Those yums were a lockdown highlight! Very impressed with your reading tally – should I check out Sarah Dessen?

    Like

    • Natalie April 5, 2021 / 6:30 pm

      The lockdown has been long and it’s now extended for another 4 weeks (sigh). Sarah Dessen’s books are YA fiction. I don’t know if you like this book genre. Check out her web site at https://sarahdessen.com/

      Every year I pick 1 or more authors and read all the books they’ve published to date. Dessen has published 14 books and I’ve read 8 so far. They’re easy reads to me although she does touch on all kinds of human emotions. I really like her “The Rest of the Story” book.

      Like

  46. Dr Sock April 8, 2021 / 2:40 pm

    Natalie, I haven’t read any of the books that you listed here. Most recently, I read Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf, The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow, and American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins. I am currently reading White Fragility by Robin Diangelo (nonfiction).

    Jude

    Like

  47. Dr Sock April 8, 2021 / 2:41 pm

    Natalie, I haven’t read any of the books that you listed here. Most recently, I read Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf, The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow, and American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins. I am currently reading White Fragility by Robin Diangelo (nonfiction).

    Jude

    Like

    • Natalie April 8, 2021 / 6:14 pm

      Jude, I love that there are so many good books to read and the library services here are excellent. I’ve switched to e-books last summer and haven’t gone into a library branch since.

      Like

  48. Molly Totoro April 11, 2021 / 11:10 am

    LOVED the interview, Natalie! I especially enjoyed hearing all the behind-the-scenes work you do to make Weekend Coffee Share such an engaging event. Thank you!!

    I’m curious… do you go on these photo adventures using only your phone camera, or do you use what I call a “big” camera? I used to love to go on photo safaris with my Canon camera, but recently realized I haven’t picked it up in over a year. I’d love to get back into that creative routine.

    Like

    • Natalie April 11, 2021 / 11:22 am

      Thank you, Molly, for your comment and for participating in Weekend Coffee Share link-up. I’m glad you loved the interview.

      I’ve been using my phone camera for all my blog photos. I like that I don’t need to carry two devices: a phone and a camera. My phone camera is not great with Zoom but it meets my photography “wants” most of the time and its portability outweighs its zoom limit. I used to use Canon cameras and love them.

      Like

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