A little glimpse of Joy

April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.
~William Shakespeare

I think I came across my first Joy encounter last week. Of course, there’s been some moments of happiness, but like we discussed earlier this year, Happy is not necessarily the same feeling as Joy.

This Joy encounter came from an unexpected source….the cancer radiation treatment center. Yes, you heard correctly.

Entrepreneur was scheduled for three radiation treatments last week. We drove to the hospital entrance for radiation patients with more than a little anxiety building about how these procedures could end up. Radiating the brain….the stuff of which anxiety is made.

It was a dreary, chilly, spring day with on and off rain showers. Much like our frame of mind. But as we drove into the private parking area for radiation patients, this is what greeted us.

A sea of yellow daffodils planted between the reserved parking spaces and entrance.

I felt my heart lift as soon as I saw them. Of course, they didn’t negate the harsh reality of what was about to happen inside, but for a brief moment, I was caught up in the beauty of the moment. I thought of all the hours it must have taken to plant these bulbs last Autumn. I thought what a wonderful gift to those experiencing the challenging darkness of cancer.

And, I noticed some of these splendid blossoms had been mercilessly beat down onto the ground, unable to hold up against the spring storms. What a shame, I thought. So, I rescued them to live in vases in my home. There is some poetic justice in this, right? 🙂

Joy. It can surprise us in the strangest of places.

For happiness one needs security, but joy can spring like a flower even from the cliffs of despair.
~Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Renew and Replace

The flower that wilted last year is gone. Petals once fallen are fallen forever. Flowers do not return in the spring, rather they are replaced. It is in this difference between returned and replaced that the price of renewal is paid.

And as it is for spring flowers, so it is for us.
~Daniel Abraham, The Price of Spring

Yesterday was the “first day of spring” although here is felt more like mid summer with temps in the mid 80sF! And, last week we had a hard freeze. So it is with spring in middle Missouri. I thought this was an interesting quote and am still processing its meaning.

My thoughts are still pretty much a jumble in my head these days and I’ve not been successful in penning anything worthwhile. But, with yesterday’s teaser, I’m ready for warmer weather. Although winter was not a harsh one, it came with its own set of challenges.

As I look ahead to warmer…and hopefully, better days…..I’ll leave you with some of the hopeful signs I found around the yard and vow to come back soon with something of more substance.

Asiatic lilies

Iris

Houttuynia (Hoot-en-ia) Caution: this plant is awesome, will grow anywhere, and is invasive. Plant at your own risk.

Comfrey

 And my favorite:

Happy spring!

The calendar says it’s Autumn but the temps say it’s Summer.

Autumn! It’s here! Or is it?

The calendar says today marks a seasonal shift with the first day of Autumn. The Autumnal Equinox….when there is almost an equal number of daylight and moonlight hours in the day. Woo Hoo! Bring on the apple cider, pumpkin-spice everything, boots, jackets, cozy sweaters, and the warmth of crackling fire pits.

But my weather app says this:

2016-autumn-equinox-1 2016-autumn-equinox-2

A bit of a disconnect. All week the temps have been in the upper 80sF with heat a head index in the 90sF.

But Autumn’s coming….I know she is.

single-red-leaf

The Fall asters are blooming. A little different color than the usual Autumn bronzes, golds and crimsons.

aster

The burning bushes are beginning to burn.

burning bush-leaf

To hurry the season along a bit, I bought some mums for the front porch. Looks like they are just waiting to explode into full bloom.

orange-mum

Hurry up little bee. Those dreams of more honey are almost gone.

honey-bee

So, Happy Autumnal Equinox to everyone in the norther hemisphere.

May you harvest the light and keep it burning brightly in your heart, so that when the deepest darkness of winter is upon us, you will remember the summer sun.
~Teo Bishop

Walk with me?

So, what is this thing called blogging and how does it work? Once again, I’ve been MIA for far too long. Life events the past few months feels like we’ve been drinking from a fire hose and I gotta tell you, we’re T.I.R.E.D. I’m slowly trying to get back into the swing of things here in the blogosphere.

But today, I’d like to stroll with you around the grounds and chat a while. Along with the stress the past few months, I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with world events. How about you? The election is looming and our choices are a narcissistic opportunist or a criminal so slick she seems to get a pass for very questionable activities. It’s really sad this is the best the two main parties can come up with for candidates. Where are all the “statesmen”? I’m extremely worried about the future of our country regardless of which one wins. The debates and non objective follow-up analysis from the media should be entertaining frustrating nauseating interesting.

morning glory

This? This is a Morning Glory. I saved some seeds from last year and threw them in a pot last spring. They took their own sweet time coming up but are going strong here at the end of summer. The cool blue color is refreshing against the 90+F temps.

Going back to politics for a moment…..I don’t understand why anyone would want to run for office in this day and age. It seems like as soon as someone announces their candidacy, the skeletons simply cannot fall out of the closet fast enough. And that’s all the media want to focus on. Let’s just ignore anything of substance….let’s focus on how much dirt can be uncovered,  how much mud can be slung, and what new, catchy, derogatory names can be adopted. And have you noticed, when a candidate has absolutely no plan, their focus becomes primarily on character assassination of their opponent?

bee

The Rose of Sharons are completely out of control. For 15 years, one Rose of Sharon bush lived peacefully in a flower bed off the driveway with a cedar tree, perennial geraniums and day lilies. However, in the last few years, Sharon has started proliferating like a bunny. That bed is now almost completely covered with volunteer Rose of Sharon bushes, which would be okay except they are starting to grow into the cedar tree, and are crowding out the perennial geranium ground cover. But the bees and hummingbirds love them. This carpenter bee was so laden down with pollen, it was flying in slow motion.

A new semester has begun and I’m, once again, an instructor for Strategic Campaigns. This is the capstone course for students graduating in the strategic communications department. I have 17 students this semester who really have no idea how much work awaits them. And I can already see managing client expectations is going to be a problem.

rose of sharon

Twix is two and a half and continues to keep us on our toes with such phrases as, I can do it!; Let me do it!; Don’t help me! Her newly-found independent abilities is entertaining….and frustrating at the same time. Her problem-solving abilities are mind boggling. Every time I turn around, she’s carrying a chair somewhere in order to get to something that has been put (what we thought was) out of reach. And the complete sentences that come out of her mouth will make your head spin. She began a sentence the other day with, Actually…….

mantis

This little guy hitched a ride on Entrepreneur’s car and ended up relocating to our yard. I’m sure he found a smorgasbord to whet his appetite. I also have a toad that lives in  a couple of aloe vera plant pots. Mental note: check the pot before brining it inside for the winter.

pantry

So you might wonder what I’ve been doing that’s kept me away from you all for so long? Well, here’s part of the reason. The garden yielded 17 quarts of canned green beans, a mixture of quarts and pints of pickled beets, pickled okra and dilly beans. The corn, once we got it tied up after the rains, rewarded our effort with 10 quart jars of golden deliciousness in the freezer, plus we had more than enough for corn on the cob dinners. But, no bell peppers….which made me sad. On the other end of the spectrum, the okra is still going gangbusters and I swear one could stand and literally watch it grow. I’ve started giving it away as I have about ten, gallon bags frozen in the deep freeze already and two more gallon bags in the frig. I’m looking forward to putting that little plot of ground to rest for the year.

Are you looking forward to Autumn? I think I might be ready for it soon. I seem to be hearing the call of cute boots and cuddly sweaters from my closet.

lantana and chair

So, The Recruiter, Peanut and Twix are now officially moved into their newly-renovated home. Peanut started a new school and is less than thrilled about the situation. But, I’m hoping she will adapt, in time. Twix comes to our house during the weekdays while mom is at work and, mercifully, still takes naps. 🙂

So, that’s where I’ve been for many, many weeks. I’ve tried to stay active on Facebook, but that’s more like “hit and run” postings. Perhaps once it gets colder I’ll have more time to contemplate deep thoughts and put into words. I have a lot of those thoughts floating around in my head. But, for the foreseeable future, I think I’ll be living hand-to-mouth and trying to keep my head above the time commitment waters.

How was your summer?

 

 

 

 

The months keep rolling by

April came and April left. Then it was May. And now it’s June!!

Honestly, I have no idea how the months seem to fly by. Obviously, I’m way behind on the calendar thing. Thinking back, April was sort of a blur. The weather warmed just enough to tease us into thinking winter was gone. But we were misinformed. I was still running the furnace for much of the month. But there were a few stellar days, as shown in the collage below; just enough kite-flying, flower-budding, tree-climbing, kick-up-your-heels-and-run-across-the-grass days to keep our spirits hopeful.

April 2016

If April was a blur, May was a watercolor caught in the rain of events and activities. Mother’s Day, anniversaries, birthdays, weddings. You name it and we probably went to it. Oh, yeah, add in the end of school paper blizzard and Memorial Day celebrations. The irises a friend shared with me bloomed (much to my surprise) after being thrown into the dirt last autumn. I thought there’d be time to catch a breath once May was finished, but we now are preparing for a visit from The Golfer and our godson’s wedding this weekend. Then, on to Kid’s Club, our church’s version of vacation bible school with 600-700 kids and almost as many volunteers. Not sure June will slow down at all. Maybe July?

May 2016

Hope you all are doing well in your respective worlds, and your summer is warm and wonderful.

Sharing with others over at Mona’s Picturesque, A Month in Photos

Sunshine and Grey Skies

quotography-sunshine72
Be someone’s sunshine when their skies are grey.
~Unknown

There are friends….and then there are Friends. You know the ones I mean.

We all have friends..well, most of us anyway. They’re the people we like to hang with, party with, spend a fun evening with; people we like to chase fun with. They are the ones who are more than willing to celebrate with us during the sunshine moments of our lives.

But friendship is much more than having a group of friends that are fun to be around, or lumping large quantities of acquaintances into a category….contrary to what Facebook would have us believe.

While I have lots of acquaintances, my circle of friends is much smaller. These are the ones who, of course, celebrate sunshine moments….but are first in line when life turns into those gray, Eeyore-ish days. They are the ones who go out of their way to bring joy…and sometimes they don’t even realize it.

One such friend, I’ll call her K, shared with me some iris and rose campion plants when she cleaned out a flower bed last summer. A small gesture of friendship. I accepted the dirty bundles and stuck them in a landscaping problem area where I’ve not been successful, not expecting much to happen. In other words, I forgot about them.

Winter was long and spring has been a bit unsettled for me, mentally and emotionally. The past few months have been challenging, and the last few weeks have left me exhausted on all fronts. My month of May-hem has been true to form.

So imagine my surprise when, one warm spring day, I rounded the corner of the house and saw no less than 10 irises in full bloom, with more on the way. The rose campion plants had taken hold and doubled in size from the scraggly tufts I’d planted in the fall.

And I felt joy. Perhaps for the first time in a very long time. Who would have thought a simple thing like an iris bloom could be an attitude changer?

And the juxtaposition of haphazardly planting these flowers in an area where nothing had successfully grown well in the past (except weeds) did not go unnoticed. Because that’s the beauty of real friendship.

They’re the people in our lives who accept the challenge of being there to offer joy to the problem areas of our lives. They cultivate understanding with grace. They are always there, willing to provide a shoulder on which to cry; an extended hand to pull us up from the abyss; a reassuring embrace that somehow makes us think we can make it through. And the beauty they give to our lives can be an attitude changer.

I am blessed with more than one of these types of friends. They are the women who have stuck with me through many seasons of life. I celebrate in the sunshine with them….and know they will always be there when my skies cloud up and become gray. They know my  strengths and weaknesses. They know my heart.

They are my sunshine.

Playing along with Kelly’s Quotography at The Road Goes Ever On and Lisa’s Life Through the Lens at Simply Living Photography.

 

 

Quotography: Language

Quotography-languageTexture by Kim Klassen: simple magic, 50% soft light

Flowers are the music of the ground. From earth’s lips spoken without sound. ~Edwin Curran, “Flowers”

I guess this quote could be considered the opposite of spoken “language.” But, sometimes the absence of spoken words is no less profound.

Playing Quotography with Kelley at The Road Goes Ever On