Spring is here, bringing cheer! by Catherine Lanigan & Rula Sinara

Rula's tulips

CATHERINE: Two years ago the winter was brutal with a polar vortex here in Northwestern Indiana with mean temperature at 40 below zero—not the wind chill, but that was the overnight low. The winter lagged on. Dull, grey, dreary days through February, March and most all of April. It didn’t warm up till July.

An elderly patient came to the dental office where I work and I was bemoaning our fate going through depressing days—(which I’m now ashamed that I complained)…and this lovely, very short lady, smiled brightly and put her hand on my arm. “The spring will come, dear. It always does.” 

Catherine's daffodils

And that is so true. Even now, in the eye of the storm of the pandemic, my yard is shooting out very early spring flowers. Robins had returned in major force, I have to say. I have bunnies romping through the yard at all times of the day. The squirrels scamper up the trees and chase each other, chattering away. Canada Geese sweep across the sky and roam the golf course across the street interfering with the golfers who are out in force. 

Catherine's lawn freshly rolled

The grass isn’t high enough to cut yet. We’re three weeks away from that. But it IS cleanup time around the yard. Today, as I filled 8 paper recyclable bags with leaved I’d raked from the gardens, I was amazed at the sprouts, the blooming hyacinths and the daffodils thrusting their faces at me. The early blooming forsythia exploded in the past 2 days. 

Catherine's forsythia

All this is to remind us that this time-out of ours is helping Mother Earth to renew herself in way she hasn’t enjoyed probably in the last hundred years. I’m not driving my car, I have time to properly stack and tie up old magazines for the recycle bin. I’d like to say I’ve washed my windows, but next week after the rains. The glorious rains that just might be a bit clearer and leave less white and grey water spots on the glass as so many factories have shut down.

The news says that dolpins are swimming in the Venice canals for the first time in ---well, decades and decades. The skies are clearer all over the world. Flowers are blooming in the parched, burned earth in Australia.

My neighbors are out walking their dogs and I am home and can shout to them and wave. Some of them, I haven’t seen in years. My neighbor has a riding lawn mower that has a “roller” he pulls behind it and it flattens out the yard. He rolled my lawn for me today, nearly an acre. I raked leaves for him and cleaned up the debris around the fence. I gave his wife some flowers from my garden since she has none.

It’s not much, but little acts of kindness, just being nice to each other is so valuable in our lives and for the first time in a long time, we have a chance to do just that. Be nice.

So, Rula. I’ll bet you have all kinds of lovely spring visions on your property. Are the trees in bloom yet? 

RULA: They are indeed, Catherine! I have numerous Yoshino cherry, plum, peach and other fruiting and non-fruiting trees in bloom right now. Spring always cheers me up, especially this year. There's something about gardening and flowers, trees or plants in general that always makes me feel hopeful. 

Yoshino cherry and purple plum trees at Rula's

I have vegetable garden seedlings planted indoors (tomato, watermelon, flowers and the list goes on) so that once our last frost has passed I can put them into the garden. I figure the more I grow the less I have to worry about grocery store trips during this pandemic. There's so much we don't have control over these days, which is probably why I love planning and planting seeds for my garden. There's something about seeing a seed sprout. A new beginning. Hope. And not only is it a project I can control, it's also useful, productive, stress reducing and gets me outside (without people around). It's a safe space outside the house and during a time when we have to rely on phone calls and computers to stay connected, getting my hands in the dirt makes me feel connected in a different way. And for me, at least, it is so therapeutic and calming.

Oh and I must admit, I'm not exactly alone when I garden...I have my chicken, duck and goose helpers.

Rula's lawn mowers

Rula's natural pest control under the cherry tree 

Who doesn't like flowers? Even my weeping willow is brightening up with greenish-gold leaves emerging. But my favorite flower to see every spring is tulips. I love them. And go figure I forgot to get a photo yesterday to post, but here are some from last year, plus a hyacinth peeking up from the mulch this year...

Rula's tulips

And just like Catherine, my forsythia is in bloom. Its bright yellow always cheers me up!

Rula's ducks napping near the forsythia

And call me strange but I hate the term 'weed' and find beauty in everything that grows, from dandelions to purple dead nettle. Both are edible by the way!

My tip? Grab a book and find a spot in your garden or by a sunny window to read. Maybe a butterfly will land on you!

Purple dead nettle in Rula's mint patch

Our hearts go out to all who are suffering during this pandemic and we pray that you and yours are safe and healthy. For those of you feeling restless and stressed during the 'stay at home' orders, plant a seed of hope. If you have a safe outdoor space to garden, go for it, but even a windowsill herb garden can sooth the soul a bit. Supplies or seeds can be ordered online if you're starting from scratch.

Take a deep breath. Spring is here and it symbolizes a new life from darkness.

Be safe. Be well. Be blessed.

Rula and Catherine


(Note: ebook on sale for only $2.99 right now!)

Caught by the Sheriff
(Turtleback Beach Book 2)
March 2020

If she follows her heart…

Will he follow the law?

Turtleback Beach, North Carolina, would be paradise—if Faye Donovan wasn’t on the run. With her sister’s life in danger and her small niece to protect, Faye tries to avoid handsome town sheriff Carlos Ryker. But Carlos offers her a refuge, and Faye feels she’s finally found home. And yet he’s still the sheriff. Can she trust him with the truth…even if it means risking everything?

Home for Christmas
(Shores of Indian Lake Book 12)
Nov 2019

Can a magical Christmas under glass…

…bring them back together for good?

Widowed dad Adam Masterson still doesn’t understand why Joy Boston left Indian Lake and broke his heart all those years ago. Now she’s returned to sell her grandfather’s beloved poinsettia greenhouse—and Joy and Adam’s connection is as strong as ever. But Joy has a life in New York. And Adam has only until Christmas to convince Joy that she belongs in Indian Lake—with him.


  1. Ladies, this post is “just what the doctor ordered”! The photographs were so uplifting, I shared them with my husband, who’s an avid gardener. I can hardly wait to see the same signs of spring (we have spring flowers just starting) here. As you say, spring is here. New life. Thanks for this start to my day!

    1. Thanks for sharing, Janice! Today is also April's full supermoon. It's named 'pink moon' after moss pink phlox according to this article: https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/07/world/april-supermoon-pink-moon-scn-trnd/index.html
      So right now spring is brighter...even at night lol! :)

  2. Thanks for sharing with your husband. We are still pretty cool weather here, that's why I loved Rula's photos! In fact, we are supposed to have snow next week! ACK! Yesterday, i was able to pick three hyacinths and when I brought them into the house, I couldn't believe how quickly the fragrance filled the room. Such a little thing to make me smile, but string those tiny bits together and they do brighten the soul. Be well. Be safe and be blessed, Janice.

  3. Nice posts, Catherine and Rula! I am very much looking forward to spring. Just in the past few weeks my household has been spending so much more time outside, enjoying the few days of sunshine we've gotten. Love the pictures!

    1. Thank you, Elizabeth! I wish there was a bit more spring around here, but just after my first daffodils bloomed we had two inches of snow. So, back to loading the firewood and curling up by the fire. By the first of May, we should have blossoming trees. I thought Rula's photos of her geese and ducks was spectacular!

    2. Thanks, Elizabeth! I can't live without some outdoor/garden time. Funny thing just happened...since everything is done online now, I was just in a meeting while sitting on the patio and got 'photo'bombed by a gander lol.

  4. Thanks for the pics. I had to go out yesterday and pick up my medications. I was surprised at all the flowers. I thought Spring knows nothing about the pandemic. Life is beginning again was something my teachers in grammar school used to say when we were learning the seasons. That phrase means so much more today. Everyone stay safe.

    1. So true, Shirley! The lessons we learn from nature :). May spring fill everyone's life. Stay safe and healthy.

  5. So, true, Shirley! I always love the spring, but this year every single blossom and bud means so much more. And every ray of sun. We have been so cloudy and of course, more thunderstorms tonight are predicted, but the grass is green, not brown and perhaps if I can ever go to a garden center again, I will get the mulch and get it spread. For now, I'm thankful for what we have. Be well. Be blessed.

    1. Wouldn't it be nice if we could just smother Covid 19 with mulch?

  6. I love seeing your spring flowers. Thank you! We're in the beginning stages of breakup here in Alaska, but I've planted some seeds in the sunroom, and in another month the rhubarb, daffodils, and perennials will be popping up in my flower beds. The pussy willows are fuzzy and sweet. Spring is coming!

    1. Definitely sounds like it's headed your way :). I bet it's picturesque in Alaska.

  7. Rula's flowering everything reminds me of April in Annapolis and Asheville--every spring I think about how that mid-Atlantic spring--and spring in the mountains--is what inspired the poets. Spring was the best part of living in those places. I remember that particular April well, Catherine, having been stranded for almost 3 days about 350 miles from my Wisconsin home while the snow piled up in epic inches! Meanwhile, I'm counting my blessings and am glad I've always worked in my home office. No adjustment there! Wishing everyone the best!

    1. Virginia, I went for a ride today and the dogwoods and redbud trees were in bloom too. So beautiful. And yes, working from home does have its advantages!


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