Gathered Sunshine


Hi Friends!

January is typically our snowiest month here in the Midwest. However, January 2017 has been one of the least snowiest months on record. In addition to our snow drought, we have also been lacking much-needed sunshine all month long. In January, we only enjoyed six sunny days. Few and far between… those days were glorious indeed!

So, throughout this month I often called upon the wisdom of

a teeny, tiny kindred spirit for inspiration…

Have you met Frederick?


This wise, little field mouse is the heartwarming hero of the wonderful children’s book,

Frederick, by Leo Lionni.

During the long, cold, difficult, winter days,

Frederick helped his little field mice friends feel warmth as he lifted their spirits.


For you see, Frederick was a gatherer.

He gathered bright sun rays





Frederick gathered breathtaking colors from nature…






… and Frederick gathered wise words when the days were warm,

and held them until the days grew cold .





Over the years, I have always felt a strong connection to our little Frederick, the poet-mouse.

For I am a gatherer, too!

I gathered these photo memories last April, while visiting dear family in Arizona.


Tohono Chul Park, located in northwest Tucson

near the majestic Santa Catalina Mountains,

is a true gem!

Their mission is to enrich people’s lives

by connecting them with the wonders of

nature, art, and culture

in the beautiful Sonoran Desert,

while inspiring wise stewardship of nature’s gifts.

Tohono Chul Park is truly one of the loveliest places we have visited in Arizona.

It’s the perfect place to gather warm sun rays, breathtaking colors, and wise words!

I’m sure that Frederick would agree.


If you haven’t read Frederick lately, do take a peek…

Frederick is celebrating

its 50th Anniversary this year.

He just might be your teeny, tiny kindred spirit, too!


Thanks so much for stopping to visit today!

Scatter kindness and gather sunshine!

♡ Dawn

P.S.  Do you have a favorite place to gather bright sunshine, beautiful colors, or wise words? Hope you will share with us!







31 thoughts on “Gathered Sunshine

  1. Dear Dawn, You and little Frederick spread sunshine wherever you go! Even though I’ve not heard of this sweet little fellow, I can see why you wanted to share him here. The gloomy weather has been upon us as well and I find I do run better on solar power. When we walk in the sunshine I do believe my step has more pep! I adore seeing all of your beautiful Arizona photos that certainly remind me of the glorious sunshine there! You have reminded me to store up those glorious days that come in winter. I adore this post, my friend. Thank you! ♥

    • You always say the sweetest things, dear Martha Ellen! ‘Solar power’ has been lacking for so many of us this month. Tohono Chul Park left such a strong impression on my heart last Spring. You know that we visit Arizona so often and enjoy exploring and hiking. Well, this is truly one of the loveliest places we have walked! Yes, let’s remind one another to store up the glorious days. 🙂 Thank you so much for your very, very kind words, my friend! Warm hugs! ♡

  2. I knew I recognized the garden door before I managed to read it was near Tohono Chul Park. A friend has a bench named in her husband’s name. He passed away a month before they were to move to Tucson for their retirement. He is in perpetual sunshine now! Thanks for bringing back wonderful memories. Your photos are superb!
    Rabbit, rabbit.

    • Rabbit, Rabbit, dear Anne! That garden door just beckoned me to enter the next beautiful area of the gardens. What a wonderful tribute to your friend’s husband, Anne. He is definitely in perpetual sunshine! Tohono Chul will always hold a very special place in my heart. The beauty of the wild desert and the botanic gardens with the Santa Catalina mountains in the distance is just breathtaking! It was fun to discover all of the artwork in the gardens. After our time in the park, we drove a short distance and took a hike at Catalina State Park. So much beauty in the Sonoran desert! Sending warm hugs and a bit of Southwest sunshine, my friend! ♡

  3. I have always been in love with childrens’ books. Sometimes it is the illustrations, but usually the story. Frederick slipped passed me! But it is on it’s way to me from Amazon and when my Grandchildren come to visit me during their Spring Break the end of March, this wonderful book will be waiting for them! I always buy them one book at Christmas along with all the toys, because I know long after the toys are a memory the books will remain, the same way books have remained in my life. I have a book my sister bought me for Christmas when I was ten years old, and that makes that book 57 years old! It is very special to me. It was about a dog named Jenny and I named my first Golden Retriever, Jenny, after that book.
    I am so grateful my mother read to me those wonderful Golden Books; The Seven Little Postmen, Mister Dog, The Three Little Kittens, even Chip and Dale, and wonderful Beatrix Potter. I hope parents are still reading to their children today.
    Thanks for this delightful post that stirred so many memories.

    • Kindred spirits, dear Chris! A book is a gift that you can open again and again! I’m so delighted that this post brought back happy memories. 🙂 What fun it will be to share Frederick with your grandchildren, Chris! With a few bits of paper, they can each tear, cut and glue their own Frederick. My students always enjoyed creating a Frederick of their own, and placing him in a setting for an original tale. Leo Lionni worked in collage for his story illustrations. It’s such fun for kids of all ages to create collages from paper scraps!

      Children become readers on the laps of their parents and grandparents. We were both so blessed to inherit our love of reading from our mothers. It is so wonderful to share the gift of reading! You are planting the seeds of the love of reading… and it just makes my heart so happy. 🙂 Sending warm sunshine and big hugs, Chris! ♡

  4. Rabbit Rabbit Dear Dawn! What a sweetly charming little creature Frederick is, and Happy Fiftieth Birthday to him {he ages well, doesn’t he?} You can tell the best tales by the longevity of the books, and how they are read by many across the generations.
    We have not been as wintry as usuall either. I am so grateful for this!
    Beautiful photographs, as ever, of Arizona ~ they are making me feel warmer in the cold winter days in the north!
    ~~~Deb in Wales

    • Rabbit, Rabbit, Deb! February has always been one of my favorite months with so much to celebrate! It looks like today will be filled with the blessing of sunshine! 🙂 I think you would enjoy getting to know all of Leo Lionni’s charming characters, including a little fish named Swimmy, Alexander a wind-up mouse, and two little selfish frogs. These sweet tales about friendship are just delightful for children of all ages. The collage illustrations inspire the imagination and are fun to create, too. (There are so many read-alouds on You Tube.) I enjoyed Leo Lionni’s tales just as much as my young students did! 🙂 Since I gifted all of my books to my dear students when I retired, I tried to borrow Frederick from the library this week. It warmed my heart to discover that all of Leo Lionni’s books were already checked out from our public library because I knew families were enjoying them. So, this was my first time to read Frederick as an e-book! 🙂

      So glad that we are both enjoying milder winters, Deb! We shoveled lots of snow in December. So, we were very grateful to have an ‘easy’ January. We really missed the energizing sunshine, though! I can see four sunny days ahead in the seven-day forecast. More snow is on the way, too. The gardens of Tohono Chul are filled with beautiful artwork and gathering places for live musical performances. We enjoyed a little classical concert amidst the blossoms, lizards, birds, butterflies, dragonflies, rabbits, and one v-e-r-y long snake! Just like Frederick, we must gather up the warm, sunny memories to warm our hearts through the cold, winter days. Thanks so much for being here, Deb! ♡

  5. I have never read ‘Frederick’ so thank you for sharing. I wish I had someone young to read it to. 🙂 When you are young, you don’t pay a lot of attention to weather. As you mature, you certainly realize the benefit of a sunny day. Sunshine is good for the body and soul, at least mine anyway. 🙂 So I’m taking myself off to a garden today to enjoy the outdoors.

    • Rabbit, Rabbit, Judy! I think you would love all of Leo Lionni’s heartwarming tales. Since I retired, I have really missed reading to children. So, now it’s fun to bring favorite books to read to my sweet ‘grandkids next door.’ Sometimes we do homework together, too! It’s always such a treat for me! 🙂 Once a teacher, always a teacher!

      We have noticed the very same thing as we age, Judy. I am really enjoying the photos of your warm, sunny getaway this winter. What fun it will be to walk through a garden in February! Soak up the beautiful colors, fragrance, garden design inspiration,… and lots of sunshine for both of us! Gathered sunshine will power us through the winter months ahead! Thanks so much for visiting today, Judy! ♡

  6. I do, indeed, know Frederick and wish I had remembered him these past days of gray, gray, gray. What a gatherer he is! 🙂 – and you, too, gathering photos and words from your beloved Tohono Chul Park and keeping them safe until now. I first met Frederick 46 years ago (yikes) in Kiddie Lit class at Illinois State. I could have taken that class over and over and over again. 🙂
    I think I gather up sunshine in much the same ways you do, most recently the other day in a rare moment when it streamed through my windows. Have you ever seen the movie Evelyn? Aidan Quinn is in it, a small film with a big message – and angel rays.

    • Rabbit Rabbit, dear Penny! I can tell that we are both gatherers, just like Frederick! It’s a wonderful mindful practice, isn’t it? You are so good at noticing the small things that make each day special. 🙂 Maybe you can share Frederick and Leo Lionni’s other treasured tales with Kezzie and Ezra one day. The illustrations are delightful collages just filled with inspiration!

      Thank you for stirring wonderful college memories this morning, Penny! I dearly remember my Children’s Literature professor. She seemed so old and frail as she wheeled in a big cart of books to share each day. She was a fountain of wonderful knowledge and made my heart fall in love with the wonders of sharing books with children! Warmest hugs for reminding me…

      I haven’t heard about the movie Evelyn. It sounds wonderful! I have just added it to my list. 🙂 Heartfelt thanks for all that you share with us ~ lakes, prairies, gardens, libraries, books, recipes, movies,… I am so grateful for my wise friend, Penny! Gatherer extraordinaire! Sending sunshine and warm hugs, dear one! ♡

  7. I was thinking of you today, and here you are! I’m sorry to hear about the non-white out winter. I think Lake Tahoe got all your snow. It’s hard when the days are just gloomy and cold without the beauty of the snow. The weather is changing everywhere.

    Your photos are *gorgeous* Dawn. Those blooms against the blue sky are a testament to nature’s beauty. I don’t know Frederick, but what a charmer. Sending hugs your way.

    • Happy Groundhog Day, Alys! Our local groundhog saw his shadow this morning (A sunny day today! 🙂 ), so we will have six more weeks of winter here. It was actually a very friendly January, without snow to shovel. Traveling on the roads has been so much easier! We had lots of precipitation in the form of rain, rather than snow. It was the lack of sunshine that we really noticed throughout the month. I am so grateful that I gathered and saved some warm Southwest sunshine to share with friends when we really needed a day brightener! Hope you are enjoying lots of California sunshine this week, dear Alys! Warmest hugs! ♡

      • Good ‘ole Phil! Dawn, not shoveling snow and easier driving both sound good to me. Our sunny days have given way to rain once again. It’s a warm, tropical rain, and not nearly as heavy as the last set of storms. I’m enjoying it. We even took a walk this evening with our bubble umbrella. It was lovely.

        Warm hugs back your way, Dawn.

      • Gentle raindrops upon your garden sound heavenly, Alys! I thought of you last night when we heard news reports that the rains and heavy snow in the mountains will end the five-year drought in California. Hope that it will prevent dangerous wildfires for a long time to come! We are blessed with another sunny day today. We are thinking warm thoughts, since the temperature is only 14 F. Wishing you a happy weekend, dear Alys! ♡

      • Creative minds think alike, Alys! I’ve been working on valentines downstairs in my little Paper Garden. 🙂 Sipping hot tea, listening to jazz, playing with watercolors… and getting inky! I am savoring every creative moment. Hope you are making time to nourish your creative heart and soul, too. Sending hugs! ♡

    • Hi, Karen! Although our high is only 14 F today, we have bright, glorious sunshine. 🙂 So, we are very happy! Last month taught us to embrace every sunny day. Hope you are enjoying the Florida sunshine, Karen! Thanks so much for stopping to visit today. ♡

      • I know you are welcoming the sunshine. We are enjoying Florida, thank you. We had lunch outside on the dock at the marina today…sunny and in the 70’s. 🙂

  8. What a sweet lil chap he is, and I don’t believe I’ve heard of the cute lil guy either. Beautiful photos too Dawn. I’m not complaining too much at our end of the world. This is February and we’ve only had one snowfall a few weeks ago, which was not much anyway. We’ve had some miserable cloudy days, but I’ll take that any day instead of snow and ice. WE can all wait for spring now can’t we? 🙂

    • Each sunny day feels so wonderful, Loretta! It’s still very cold here, but we now we are enjoying some glorious sunshine! We have had four sunny days in a row. Ahhhhh! 🙂 You are so right about the snow and ice! We had a very snowy December, so now we feel very grateful for each week without snow. I’m already dreaming garden dreams… and I’ll bet you are, too! It won’t be long now. Thanks so much for being here, Loretta! ♡

  9. What a way to make a grey day shine. We’ve had nothing but rain for so long and dark cloudy skies. I certainly appreciated the photos of anything related to sunshine. Loved the story and video. We got your snow this year. More than we’ve had for a decade. And deeply cold for a while. Glad that’s over now. Warm and dry coming and we will be wishing for a cloud anywhere in the sky. 🙂 Have a wonderfilled week, Dawn.

    • You really have had snow and ice this winter, Marlene! I often think of you when I see the weather reports. Winter days can be just perfect for a cup of tea, a good book, and creative, projects! 🙂 Thanks for stopping to visit today. Sending sunny thoughts! ♡

  10. I’ve never heard of Frederick, Dawn, but thanks for sharing his story and your gorgeous photos! We have some sunshine here today, though I don’t think it’s forecasted to last into the week. I’ll grab it up now, while I can. Hope you’re having a wonderful Monday ❤

    • My pleasure, Chris! Today we had a rare February day in the mid-50s! So, this afternoon I laced up my shoes and headed out for a long walk in the sunshine. It will be very cold again in a few days. Today was a real treat for us! Hope you are enjoying fun adventures in the city, Chris. Sending sunny hugs! ♡

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