Photo Blogging Challenge: Look Up

 

 

 

Here we are again with PJ’s Photo Blogging Challenge. Where do the months go? This month’s prompt was Look Up. Bloggers from all over participate by taking photos with the month’s theme in mind and posting them at the end of the month. I tried to take a little different, less literal approach this time. Enjoy.

#1 Look Up….
Early in the month, our grand-niece was baptized in her Mama’s baptismal gown. You could say we all Looked Up to God for extending his grace to this wee one and sealing her with his covenant.

#2. Look Up….
Our nephew graduated from high school this month and his future is Looking Up.

#3. Look Up….
When you’re a puppy, Looking Up is the norm. This is Cooper, a nephew’s Australian Shepherd pupper looking up from the ground.

#4. Look Up…..
We were told Peanut would receive an award at her end-of-the-year school assembly. As we were sitting through all the awards, listening for her name that was not being called, I began to get a little worried there’d been some sort of mistake. But there was no mistake. Her name was called for the last award, The Glory of Missouri proclamation from the Missouri State House of Representatives. The Glory of Missouri is awarded to 14 students in participating schools, each student representing one of the 14 virtues displayed in the house chamber; Knowledge, Liberty, Equality, Law, Justice, Fraternity, Education, Progress, Honor, Truth, Virtue, Temperance, Enterprise, and Charity. Peanut’s award was for Knowledge. She may be someone to Look Up to in the future!

#5. Look Up….
It was a fun challenge this month and I hope you enjoyed my take on “Look Up.” I’ll leave you with the goldfinches we’ll be Looking Up at in the sky…after they finish emptying the bird feeder.

Be sure to Look Up the other photo challenge entries over at A ‘lil HooHaa.

Photo Blogging Challenge: Color!

Late to PJ’s party over at A ‘lil Hoohaa this month, but better late than never? Especially since the theme is COLOR!

April was a colorful month and the enticing spring flowers, Easter festivities and warmer weather made sure I got out to enjoy all that color….except for the last three days when Mom Nature decided to dump buckets and buckets of water on us. Oh, and today, it’s barely making it out of the 40sF. So it’s April that’s going out like a lion.

Back to more enjoyable thoughts.

Color #1
The oddest thing happened one day at War-Mart. Four very large hanging baskets of violas jumped into my cart. So, I took them home for some early spring color in the planter pots. The lovely lavender and yellow colors were just what I needed that day to make me smile. 🙂

Color #2
Sometimes Twix gets to go to Preschool Open Gym time a local gymnastics gym. It’s always very colorful in a gym with the mats. And…then there’s the splash of pink color hanging on the rope.

Color #3
I featured this earlier this month, but it bears repeating. This colorful display is what greeted Entrepreneur and I when we went to the hospital for his radiation treatments. The sea of cheerful, yellow, daffodils probably brought smiles to many worried patients.

Color #4
Easter is always colorful with egg hunts and baskets. This year, Peanut found a very colorful lollipop in a basket from her great-grandparents.

Color #5
What self-respecting color addict wouldn’t include a photo that personified her bio? As a 96-crayon-box person, I might resemble this remark….um photo. 🙂

Don’t forget to visit PJ’s place to enjoy more colorful month-in-reviews.

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 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.

 

 

April Photo Challenge: Vibrant

photo blog challenge

April is usually very vibrant month in middle Missouri with all the spring blooms. So, this month was a fairy easy challenge. Life continues to fly by at warp speed and it seems I’m living hand to mouth in my attempt to keep up. Honestly, I have no idea how I juggled everything way back in my twenties. After all, we have sooooo many time-saving devices now-a-days. 🙂 Oh well, I digress.

So here’s my Vibrant Five.

#1 Vibrant
Leading off is a shot of my creeping phlox along the front walk. The ones that survived last June’s deluge of rain and July heat were especially gorgeous this year.
pink phlox

#2 Vibrant
Spring always rewards us after winter with the bluest blues and the greenest greens. I really love the saturation of color in the sky and grass in this shot. Papa and Peanut love to fly kites….especially ones they get at the dollar store. This one is going on a year without flying into a kite-eating tree.
kite flying

#3 Vibrant
In a ever-increasing, concrete world, Mom Nature simply won’t be beaten. She will always find a way to provide a bit of color despite efforts to the contrary. As Peanut and I walked up the road to the bus stop, we were greeted by a few, stubborn sprigs of greenery who refused to believe they couldn’t grow in asphalt. If sure there is a life lesson here, somewhere.
grass in road

#4 Vibrant
Who needs flowering trees when you have Peanut willing to provide a bit of vibrant, tree-top color. This is her favorite climbing tree…a white pine her godmother, The Golfer, received when she was in fourth grade from her teacher.
peanut in pine tree

#5 Vibrant
Entrepreneur and I took a road trip to see The Golfer in Florida. In addition to a new puppy (to be featured in a later post), she had a gorgeous, blue orchid on her table. I’d never seen a blue orchid before, and the color was so intense.
blue orchid

There’s my five for April. Please take time to visit PJ over at A ‘lil HooHaa to enjoy vibrant April photos from everyone else. Better yet, why not play along with us?