Unexpected Pleasures

Sunday morning I came downstairs to move the wash into the dryer and do a quick check on email, when my daughter told me to look outside.  There stood two beautiful bucks with antlers, nibbling away at the deer2zebra grass at the edge of our lawn.  I didn’t think to grab my camera, but honestly, they didn’t stay all that long.  I think my voice may have spooked them.  While the antlers on “my” bucks were flatter and more horizontal than this photo from the Morguefile  – you get the idea.  I was so delighted with the surprise gift from nature.  There was a time when we often saw deer in our yard, but that was before the development filled and the botanical garden four streets over erected high fences.  We don’t get many deer anymore.  We do get chipmunks, squirrels, and skunks, though. 🙂

But the experience got me to thinking of the many unexpected little pleasures that we see, and unfortunately, take for granted.  Perhaps we should take a moment to just count our blessings.

Here’s one.  I love orchids.  I love that they’re now sold as houseplants and not restricted to a greenhouse.  Anyway, I had an orchid that came with directions toIMG_1079 water the flower by placing three ice cubes in the pot once a week.  While I thought this must be jarring to the sensitive plant, I followed the directions – and the blooms on the plant promptly died.  Sigh.  There were still little pods that hadn’t opened yet on the branch.  So rather than toss the plant, I put it out of the way in the family room – and forgot it.  About two months later, I noticed that the tiny pods were now big and ready to pop open.  I hadn’t watered that plant in two months!  So now I know the secret to growing orchids.  Throw away the directions! 🙂  Here’s a pic of my miracle blossoms along with African violets that delight me as well.

hummingbirdThe lovely thing about summer is that I can write out on my screened-in porch.  Our porch sits high off the ground so as to be even with the first floor, and sitting on it feels a bit like sitting in a tree house.  There’s a bird feeder that hangs from the house that is a popular feeding spot for cardinals, finches, and wrens.  Those are fun to watch.  But my favorite bird is the hummingbird.  I don’t have a feeder specifically to attract them.  I do have flowers in my garden that they might like, but when writing, I don’t really see the garden.  However, the hummingbirds seem to like my riverbirch tree.  They fly close and check out the leaves.  I will exit my story world just to watch the hummingbirds.  Again, thank you to the Morguefile for the pic.

Lightning bugs.  They are tiny little miracles and make me believe in magic every time I see them.

Finally, you may already know I had an ebook release last week, The Whisky Laird’s Bed.  Everytime a new book releases, it’s like a blessing.  I never thought I’d be an Untitled-3author.  I never thought I was imaginative enough to create stories that someone would actually want to read – and yet I have.  I had to pull out my old books the other day to enter the info into RWA’s Romance app (For more information on the Novel Engagement app see this link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/novel-engagement/id858586481?mt=8) and surprised myself with the creativity in those books.  I’d forgotten how much fun they are.  To add to the collection is an honest-to-God unexpected pleasure.  I hope you give Whisky Laird a try, but if not – that’s okay.  It’s enough for me that I smile everytime I see the cover.

So how about you?  Tell me about your unexpected pleasures.  Someone will win a digital download of the The Whisky Laird’s Bed.  I hope the cover makes you smile as well 🙂



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  • Jane says:

    Hello Donna,
    My unexpected pleasure is baby pics. This past weekend I spent a lot of time looking at photos of Prince George. His first birthday is coming up and there’s a lot of news about him. I don’t really follow the royal family, but he’s so cute and I couldn’t stop looking at his photos from his trip to Australia and New Zealand.

    • Jane – I have to admit I’d forgotten all about Prince George, but I’d discovered a stack of old prints of my kids when they were little. That was back in the day when you kept actual photographs – not digital photos. That was a real pleasure. I’d forgotten they’d existed.

      Thanks for reminding me of that – definitely an unexpected pleasure.

      And you get the unexpected pleasure of the GR. 🙂 (though I’m not sure if pleasure is accurate 🙂 )

  • Amy Conley says:

    Donna the cover makes me drool.

    Right now I’m a bit stressed out with everything going kn, but one god yhing was seeing an old friebd I haven’t seen in many years.

    • Amy Conley says:

      Ok I have another, I just saw where I won a copy already 😀 thank you. Seems like I always win your contests, but I’m not complaining, you always send the nicest cards with notes also. (Several I have on disply in my room and see them first thing every day. )

    • Seeing old friends is always a great pleasure. Glad you got to experience that with all that is happening in your life.

  • Kathy Heare Watts says:

    Love your pictures! I am so blessed, I have 10 grandchildren! The biggest shock was my youngest daughter who had 3 girls and decided to have another baby! She is 8½ mo old and we are so enjoying a baby again. She was really an unexpected pleasure but has brought us so much joy! Her sisters are 12, 10 and 7½ yrs old. It seems our conversations are about “baby girl” as we like to call her.
    Kathy (Redrabbitt@aol.com)

    • Kathy –
      I’m so jealous. I’m incredibly ready for grandchildren, but apparently my kids are not there yet. That would be a definite unexpected pleasure. You are indeed blessed.

  • Cathy P says:

    My unexpected pleasures are to watch birds and other wildlife, enjoy the company of my family and friends and my dog, and to just be thankful to be alive and well.

    • Cathy P –

      Sounds like you have the right attitude to live a long life of abundance. Congratulations on appreciating the small pleasures as well as the grand.

  • Helen says:


    I do love unexpected pleasure and my grandchildren gives me heaps of them LOL like on the weekend when I came in from the yard and my 6 year old Hayley had one of my Mills Boon books in her hand trying to read it when I told her that her library books were here she she they we too easy LOL they really are cute and of course I have a new grandson who is a week old today and having cuddles is good. So many things happen just watching the birds in the yard and the dog jumping around.

    I have to recommend you new book this one is so so good but then I have loved all of your stories

    Have Fun

    • Helen –

      I’m afraid one of my biggest regrets in life is that you live waaay over there and I’m waaaay over here. 🙂 If you were closer, I could give you a hug. Your post has given me the unexpected pleasure of being grateful for the internet. Because without it, we would have never “met.”

      You know, as I was writing this post yesterday, I knew you’d say you received a great deal of pleasure from your grandkids – which is how it should be. One of these days, I hope I get to experience the same pleasure. 🙂

      • Helen says:


        Thank you so much I too love the fact that I have met so many lovely people and only hope that one day I will get to meet you all in person that would be just the best 🙂

        Have Fun

  • Maureen says:

    That is a great cover! Over the weekend there were a bunch of goldfinches in our back yard that had me smiling.

    • Goldfinches! Aren’t those the neatest birds. They really catch your eye when they fly about. We have to be careful about hanging plants on our our front porch because the regular house finches – the ones with more of a rosy color on their heads and chests – like to put there nests in our plants in the spring. But the goldfinches look like escaped parakeets 🙂

      Definitely an unexpected pleasure!

      Thanks for the cover love! 🙂

  • Shannon says:

    I’ve come to expect gatherings with friends. I’ve come to value finding a good book that makes we go “wow.” I’m grateful to see a lovely sunrise, because it means I got up, got going, and am walking enough. I’m not sure I’m going to be grateful or not, but my landlord is planning to do some improvements. I’m also really surprised when my Sunday brunch places some kind of unusual ravioli–pumpkin or brocolini,

    • Shannon –

      Finding a “keeper” book is definitely a great pleasure. We’ve belonged to a group of friends called the “gourmet group” that meet every couple of months for a themed potlock the last 25 years (for us). These days finding time for us all to get together is an unexpected pleasure 🙂
      I rarely see a sunrise. I’m more of a sunset sort of girl. BUt the colors are always spectacular.

      Wonderful list of unexpected pleasures, Shannon.

  • Caren Crane says:

    Donna, the deer still thrill me, especially since we don’t see this as often in our neighborhood anymore. The hawks are always a treat to see and hear. There was one carrying on in our back yard yesterday, screeching up a storm. Actually, he may have been in one of the neighbors’ back yards. The hawk was screeching, dogs were barking, and there was general mayhem. I have no idea what was going on, but would love to find out!

    My husband was working a run-off election here last week at an elementary school that had a garden and a chicken coop. The school lost one of their three chickens to a hawk that day. They are serious predators! I also saw one swoop in front of my car on the Beltline a few months ago, carrying a squirrel in its talons. It was flying low!

    In our neighborhood we have: deer, foxes (not as many now), coyotes, racoons, opossums, rabbits, squirrels, hawks, owls. The only thing we don’t have are bears. Although they’ve been spotted in suburban areas about 10 miles from us, Yikes!

    It’s nice to have so very many trees and stands of woods here in Raleigh, though we do have quite an abundance of wildlife for a suburban area!

    • Caren – I know. It’s sort of sad. We still see deer at a distance in the early evening in a field or near woods, but rarely in our backyard. There was a time though when that wasn’t a common site. Raccoons! We had a nest of them the tree by our screened-in porch. Cute as can be when you see them, but they poop all over the place. They moved on this year – now that’s an unexpected pleasure! 🙂

      We have a hawk that occasionally checks out the neighborhood. The other day, the bluejays were screeching and making a racket. My husband went to investigate and said the hawk was sitting nearby. The birds were warning other birds apparently. When they swoop by – it’s a glorious site.

      Great list, Caren!

  • Deb says:

    Unexpected, and even small, pleasures are a treat, aren’t they, Donna? We have been seeing a red-headed and a downy woodpecker a lot this summer as well as wrens and a pair of brown thrushes and a cardinal that has decided to stay for the summer. We took our snowball bushes out of the back yard and I hated the thought of taking away the partial privacy barrier, but it has also provided open spaces to actually see the woodpeckers never seen before. A little pleasure, and unexpected.

    I have been going through our daughter’s photos to start creating a scrapbook (I am 14 years behind, gulp). Poor kid doesn’t seem to have photos from age 7 to the present because I quit taking photos when my camera died, and now everything is digital and my photo-taking skills have not developed with the digital age (pun intended). 😉 But, little pleasures in remembering this time or that time when looking at them. They grow up too fast, our “babies”….

    • That they do. That’s why discovering that cache of photos a couple of months ago was such a treat – as was watching my son, who is a grown man now at 29, laughing at photos of himself at eight or ten. Truly an unexpected pleasure. 🙂

      Deb – I bet that cardinal is a year-round visitor. We have lots of them here and they stay even in the harsh winters. It’s one of the reasons I keep the feeder full of sunflower seeds in the winter. I love to here the drumming of a woodpecker in the distance. I’m not sure it’s as much of a pleasure when they work on a close tree. LOL. Every now and then, I see a woodpecker in our trees – at least they don’t hammer at night. 🙂

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Great post, Donna! We have a little bushy-tailed squirrel that visits our back yard frequently. The other day I enjoyed watching him (her?) run up the pine tree about 3-4 feet, run back down and run up again. It looked so much like a child getting a running start to leap of jump up onto something that I had to lol at his antics!

    I have this thing for wallpaper and every time I pass my living room I enjoy the beautiful wallpaper I put in there a few years ago! Just a little thrill of delight for the color and pattern!

    • Jo –
      You’ll have to post a bit of that wallpaper. I want to see it – especially as we’re preparing to strip the wallpaper off our dining room, kitchen and laundry room (aged and peeling all) and the rice paper off out family room walls (cat used as a scratching post). What will remain is the wallpaper is our small first floor powder room. I love that paper. It’s a big print that evokes a feel of a sunny mediterraen plaza. So I understand how wallpaper can be an unexpected pleasure.

      LOL on the squirrels. We have several white squirrels here. They’ve been mating with brown squirrels yielding a light brown squirrel as well as the usual gray squirrel. I was north in Kent, Ohio and they’re known for their black squirrels. Who knew there was such a rainbow of colors for squirrels?

  • EC Spurlock says:

    Not a lot of unexpected pleasures around here right now, but last month we went out to visit my brother-in-law. He lives in Arizona at the top of a mountain, and even though it is a developed area I was surprised at the amount of wildlife. I was still on east coast time so I woke up about 5 AM every morning and almost every morning there were mule deer walking through his back yard – once a whole herd of about a dozen! Another morning there were eight or ten jackrabbits bouncing and binkying in the brush beside the house. While I was trying to get pictures of them, a whole family of quail ran past! I had never seen quail before and they were so fast even my photos of them came out blurry!

    I think my only small pleasure right now is the inordinate number of tomatoes we’ve had on our plants this year.

    • EC –
      LOL – There’s nothing quite like a homegrown tomato. 🙂 I know what you mean about quail. I hadn’t seen one either until several years ago when we went on vacation to Phoenix, AZ. Yes – the wildlife on the East coast comes in more of a two- legged variety. LOL.

  • Kim says:

    Seeing a deer or a cute dog while out for a walk is always a nice pleasure.

  • bn100 says:

    when someone unexpectedly bakes you cookies

    • Excellent! That would be an unexpected pleasure. Or if they buy you Cheryl’s cookies – LOL. Cheryl’s Cookies is local to my community and they had a big bake sale with 75% off this weekend. I bought five dozen buttercream frosted cookies – my favorite. I put four dozen in the freezer to take to my sister in Cincinnati when I go down. But I’ve been eating the remaining dozen. Bad, bad Donna!! I have no willpower when it comes to buttercream frosting!

      Thanks for the unexpected pleasure!

  • Minna says:

    My unexpected pleasure was seeing squirrels two days in a row.

    • Minna –

      LOL – Squirrels are a daily sight here. Do they not have squirrels where you live? Or is it because you’re in a city with few trees or parks? I suppose if they aren’t a frequent sight, they would be an unexpected pleasure :).

  • Donna, what a lovely post! I think it’s so easy to get caught up in problems and miss out on the truly lovely things. Even if they’re small things, they’re still truly lovely. As many of you know, there’s a lake at the bottom of my garden. For many years, we’d occasionally get a black swan there but someone has started feeding them so they’ve become permanent residents. I always get a little burst of pleasure when I see them (especially when they fly with the flash of white under their wings and their necks stretched out straight as a ruler) and for the last 18 months or so, I’ve seen them most days.

    • A black swan – that truly would be an unexpected pleasure! And you saw one fly? We have a few swans around here – all white – and every now and then they show up in a new pond. Yet we’ve never seen a swan fly. I thought maybe they were hitchhiking 🙂 but, of course, we’ve never seen that either. Heck, spotting a white swan is a bit of a thrill, but a black one would be a true pleasure!

  • teresa says:

    My unexpected pleasure is getting to play with my nephew when he comes and visits me

    • Your nephew is a young one, isn’t he? They grow to an age when they sulk and are moody and uncooperative until they blossom into adulthood, so I’m thinking your nephew must still be young – and precious. 🙂

      That would be a true unexpected pleasure. I hope you take lots of photos because I’m warning you…overnight they turn into teenagers.

  • Heathercm2001 says:

    This post made me smile! 🙂

    I try to take a second to enjoy those moments of unexpected pleasure. Usually it is catching the colors of a sunrise on a Sunday morning. There was one a few weeks back that was extra enjoyable. There was a little bit of fog, beautiful colors in the sky, and it was so peaceful. I saw a very rare-for-my-neighborhood deer making its way through the neighbor’s yard. The bunnies were out having breakfast. The birds were chirping, and the neighborhood cat was creeping out of the tree line in the back. Great way to start the day!

    • Heather – are we neighbors?

      Of course not 🙂 but the deer showing in our back yard was also a very rare-for-my-neighborhood moment as well.

      Dawn is indeed lovely, the few times I’ve seen it 🙂 I’m more liable to catch the sunset.

      Thanks for the image. That sounds like a true unexpected pleasure. 🙂

  • LOL – I just had another unexpected pleasure.

    I do water aerobics on Monday and Wednesday evenings. It feels wonderful after a hot day. However, a family of ducks has decided to claim the pool as theirs and drop in for a swim periodically. Tonight, while we were doing our aerobic thing, a duck was coming in for a landing. A plane overhead provided the sounds effects of the duck heading our way. He splashed into the diving bell – made me smile. 🙂

  • Donna, what a fun post! I love your unexpected pleasures.

    We had one last month, when an owl decided to spend a couple of hours in our pecan tree. It sat on a branch, occasionally looking down at us but seemingly not bothered by our presence, our conversation, or our cameras. Maybe I imagined it, but there seemed to be a definite “Why worry when I can take you?” component to its attitude.

    Just tonight, the dh took me out in the yard to see a huge moth sitting in the grass. Its wingspan is about 3-4 inches.

    • Holy Cow Nancy –

      That moth is like mothra! No wonder the owl is hanging out at your place 🙂 . I think you posted pics of that owl last month. Very cool. It’s easy to get lost in Nature. I love how an owl can swivel its head. I think its an omen that he visited your yard. An omen of what – I’m not sure 🙂 But I bet its something magical.

  • Mozette says:

    Unexpected pleasures… um… you’ll probably laugh, but mine are re-runs of old television shows.

    You know: ‘Happy Days’, ‘Leverne and Shirley’ and ‘90210 – old school’… I love those shows, they are wonderfully written, clever and hilarious no matter how many times they’re on. 😀