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?

Songography

songography-beautiful dayIt’s a beautiful day
Don’t let it get away
It’s a beautiful day
~Beautiful Day by U2

If spring is serious where you are, I hope those beautiful days let you get away and enjoy some fun activities. If spring has eluded you, I wish you patience and more hot chocolate laced with Bailey’s Irish Cream to help tide you over until summer.

Playing along with Kathy and those who love Songography

I blinked and March was gone

March 2016
In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.
~Mark Twain

I have no idea how this  happened. One day it was mid-March and the next day it is mid-April. March seemed to come and go in the blink of an eye. In short, March was a blur. Spring began and I think I missed it.

I remember thrilling at the sight of daffodil blooms. I remember dreary, wet days of rain. Mom Nature teased with days in the 60F and when we got used to that, she plummeted the temps to a high of 40F.

I vaguely remember frantically trying to tie up loose ends with my class and work before spring break. Since The Recruiter wasn’t able to get off work for a week, Entrepreneur and I volunteered to drive the grand girls to Alabama to see their dad, hang around the area for a week and then bring them back home. This was Twix’s first time away from her familiar routine and surroundings and we weren’t sure how she would fare.

Re-entry after break was rough. Both girls came home sick, which was evidently passed to me during the 13-hour car ride back to middle Missouri. Sunday began one of the worst sore throats I can remember….prompting me to [gasp] go to the doctor a few days later. Twix is still fighting a cold, and thankfully it has not turned into anything worse. Behaviors in the 8-and-under crowd have been as volatile as the weather, which has not been conducive to making this Nana Nanny feel better.

The garden sits unattended with a partial fence built to keep out the critters. The spring booms are admired from afar as I don’t have the desire to fight the 20mph wind to go outside. And I honestly don’t know where the hours go in the day. Oh…wait…there’s a two year old in the house… who just announced she took the batteries out of the television remote. Ahhh…..now, I remember.

So, now it’s April?

Playing along with Quotography and Life Through the Lens