Beauty Forgotten

So, this past year my family moved. We had lived in the same home for 18+ years. After moving 18 years worth of “stuff” to the new place we went back numerous times to clean, touch up paint and spruce up the yard before listing our home for sale.

On one of our trips back to the old house my son said to me, “Mom, we have to take these!” I looked over at him to see that he was pointing down at our beautiful lillies in the front yard. We had planted them the year before and they provided a vibrant and bright splash of color to the front yard. Of course, it was early Spring and the lillies were just beginning to grow and their vibrant color had not yet emerged. At first I was hesitant to move them, afraid that they would not handle the move well. My son won out and we finally dug them up on a later trip back to the house and brought them to our new home.

Anyone who has moved knows that its a BIG job! Somehow, our lillies were forgotten and left in temporary pots under the deck at our new home. We had become busy with unpacking and getting settled in our new home and forgot to re-plant the lillies in the ground. Each time we worked in the yard I would walk past the lillies and say to my son, “We really need to transplant those to the yard.” Well, we got busy and Spring soon turned into Summer.

One day, as I was sitting in the family room, I looked out the window and a flash of color caught my eye. As I took a second look, I realized that my lillies were in full bloom in their temporary pots under the deck. I quickly got up and walked outside to investigate further. I was amazed to see that each and every flower was in full bloom! I was surprised to see them in bloom as they had not received much light under the deck. In fact, I was shocked that they had bloomed at all. They were all leaning in odd directions as we had failed to support the stems due to the fact that we had quite literally forgotten all about them.

As I stood staring at the beautiful flowers a smile lit up my face. I LOVED my lillies and they were absolutely beautiful! It seemed that they didn’t care where they were planted, they were determined to bloom full and bright regardless of their surroundings. They had endured the shade and reduced sunlight. They had endured the small meager amount of dirt that we had planted them in “temporarily”. They had endured the lack of water as we had “forgotten them” quite literally. In spite of all the hardships they had endured, they were bright and beautiful.

I couldn’t help but think about all my wonderful friends as I stood looking at my lillies. I knew that many of my friends were enduring hardships of their own. We each face our own set of challenges in life and sometimes we may feel like these lillies, left and forgotten.

While many may be struggling to find nourishment spiritually or temporally, we can continue to shine forth as beacons of hope to others.  Regardless of our circumstances, we are important. We matter. There will always be someone who’s life we can touch through our example. Rather than hibernate in the dark we can shine forth and bring light to others through our service. Just as my lillies emerged from the darkness and overcome obstacles, we can overcome our trials and find beauty in living.

How will you choose to beautify the world around you? Whose spirit can you lift today? Is there someone you know that could use a good dose of laughter, a gentle touch,  or a kind word? How will you make a difference in the life of another. Will you? When we forget about ourselves and seek to lift another, our burdens become lighter.

Don’t despair if you are feeling “forgotten”. Search deep within yourself and find your “roots”. Whether you are planted on a firm foundation currently, or tipping slightly over, let your roots grab hold and pull you back to where you can stand firm again. Remind yourself that YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! YOU MATTER! Grab on to the HOPE that you will again STAND TALL and FIRM in your foundation.

Take one day at a time. CHOOSE to find the beauty in today!

Saturday Stroll

No, I have not been ignoring my blog. Yes, I have been busy.

I finally decided to take a break from my busy day today to take a stroll around the yard. Due to the large amounts of rain this year my garden is virtually non-existent. I have not had much enthusiasm to garden as of yet. Thanks to my son, we do have a few things growing. He has been diligent in growing various vegetables in spite of the rain. My kitchen garden window has continued to be the source of heat for the many “starts” he is growing. I came home about a week ago to find our camping table set up in the dining room in the center of the bay window. He had taken many of his larger “starts” and moved them to this table to take advantage of more sunlight. His enthusiasm has not been dampened by the rain like mine has. Thankfully, we may actually have a few things to harvest this year.

As I walked out the back door onto the deck today, I noticed just a few of the many tomato plants my son has been growing. These are placed next to the deck railing to be “hardened off” as my son says. He has put barriers on the sides of them to keep the wind from blowing too hard. Once they have “hardened off” he will find a place around the yard to plant them. He has already planted 10 tomato plants around the yard. Not sure where these will be going. If all goes well, we will have enough tomatoes to feed an army!

Just a few of the many tomato plants that my son has been growing.

The mysterious flowers growing in the deck planter have finally begun to flower. I still have no idea what they are…

Do you know what these are?

Our yard is sprinkled with Foxglove all around the perimeter. Here is one near the side gate…

A burst of color against all the greenery.

Here is a beautiful white one near the driveway…

Just one of the few white ones in the yard.

Here is another one on the side of the house. Notice the bee working its magic…

There were so many bees swarming in and out of all the Foxglove that I could not keep track of them all. It was fun to watch though!

I finally discovered what these are…Peonies! My friend said that due to the tightness of the blossoms before blooming the ants do the pollination instead of the bees. That makes sense because I see ants on them all the time.

Notice the tiny ant working diligently to pollinate.

Our spinach is finally growing thanks to my son…

The slugs ate all the lettuce but at least we still have the spinach!

I discovered this beautiful peach Iris nestled in a cozy corner in the backyard. I love the color!

This was a complete surprise! I was thrilled to find this beautiful flower nestled in a corner of the yard.

The strawberries are beginning to turn red and my mouth was watering just taking the photos…

I was happy to see that the strawberries are beginning to turn red!

My son pointed out that the cherries are beginning to grow on the trees…

Cherry pie sounds really good right now!

The hosta’s that are growing at the base of the built-in bench are beginning to show their budding flowers…

One of the many hosta's in the yard. This one, at the base of a bullt-in bench, is beginning to show its flower buds.

At the end of my stroll I noticed these tiny pink flowers growing out onto the sidewalk near the front corner of the yard. As I knelt down to snap a photo I was suddenly very aware of their fragrant scent! They smelled wonderful. I have no idea what they are…

These have a wonderfully delicious scent. Do you know what they are?

For me, life is good. I am feeling drawn in a direction that provides perfect clarity of vision for the future. I am following in faith, and remembering to stop and take time to notice the simple pleasures surrounding me. When life gets busy we often forget to notice the small, simple pleasures of life. Take time to stop and smell the flowers. Take time to slow down and remember to smile at others. Your kind smile may be the only one they see today. Every day is a gift, that’s why they call it the present. Remember to be PRESENT and make the most of each and every day!

Life Happens…

It was early this morning as I decided to put on my shoes and take a quick walk around the yard. It was raining lightly as I walked outside. The fresh air felt good and the light sprinkling of water upon my face actually felt refreshing. As I soaked in the fresh air, and the rain, I lifted my hand and turned on my camera. Let’s see what I can photograph today…

My walk was brisk as the rain began to descend with a bit more weight to it. As I strolled around, snapping photos, I tried to ignore the obnoxious crow that had been making noise all morning. It appeared a few days ago and has perched itself permanently to the top of our neighbors tree. It “caw’s” from about 4 am on, each and every day.

As I was making my way along the back of the yard, I knelt down to snap a photo of one of the many foxglove that have been blooming. As I zoomed in to snap a close up I noticed something on one of the flowers. It looked like a tiny, fury green bug. At first I wasn’t sure what it was. I ran inside to get my “better” camera and snapped a few more photos. As I continued to get closer to the tiny bug I realized it had wings. Could it be a bee? It looked almost green to me and did not look the same color as a normal bumblebee. Yes, I think it’s a bee.

Do you hold steadfast and immovable when the storms of life come? Or, do you climb inside a hole and hide? What do you see this bumblebee doing?

As I sat pondering this little bee’s predicament I felt rather sorry for it. It had been caught in the rain. It looked sad and helpless, sitting there on the flower. I knew it could not fly away in the rain and would most likely spend most of the morning perched on the flower, waiting out the rain. I thought about how often in life we are caught “in the rain” so to speak. LIFE HAPPENS. Sometimes we too, get stuck just like the bee. We are forced to wait out the storms of life, sometimes in places that feel a little uncomfortable for us.

As I sat watching the bee for quite sometime, I wondered why it didn’t climb inside the flower to protect itself from the rain. It could have easily taken a few steps and nestled itself inside the flower to be protected from the rain that was beating down on its little body. Instead it sat patiently, perfectly still, while the rain continued to beat down upon it.

Are we like the bee? Do we brace ourselves for the storms of life and endure them with patience? Or, do we climb inside a hole and hide from the world around us, waiting and hoping the storm will end?

I’d like to think that I”m like the bee. That when the storms of life come I will face them with courage. That I will stand steadfast and immovable, holding fast to the truths I know. Having hope that if I endure the storm well, I will be stronger and wiser when it has passed.

I must admit that there have been times in my life when I have felt the desire to climb inside and hide from the pressing storm. In fact, there have been times when I have done just that. Thankfully, with time, I have learned to climb back out and face the storms of life with courage and faith. It is when I stand steadfast and immovable, exercising my faith and working hard to do my part, that the light at the the end of the storm comes.

Realizing that the storms will come is the first step. Bracing ourselves to endure them well and to learn from them is step two. Having the faith that there will come an end to the storm is the next step. Understanding that when one storm ends, and time passes, we will most likely be faced with another storm. This is LIFE. This is how we LEARN. Each and every day we are being tested. Will we choose the right? Will we be strong?

Sometimes, when we are in the midst of our own trials, we are so focused on ourselves that we forget that there are others who are suffering too. Everyone has trials and to each is given our own unique set of “storms”. The question is not to ask, “Why me?” but rather, “What is it that I am to learn from this?”

When the storm finally does pass, and the sun shines, do we go about our life giving no thought to the purpose of the storm? Or, do we take time to reflect on its purpose. Has it refined us and made us stronger? Or, did we allow it to weaken us? If we have allowed it to weaken us, we can rest assured that we will most likely endure another storm, and another, and another until we finally learn the lesson we are being taught. If the storm has made us stronger, we will not be free from trials, however our future trials will be for the purpose of teaching us something different.

A new shade of purple popped open yesterday. I love the delicate shape of the Iris.

This life is a testing ground. Our lives are filled with trials and storms. They are also filled with joy, happiness and love. The simplicity of life is where we find our real joy. It may come in the form of a child’s smile, the laughter of a friend, or the still small voice that speaks to your soul, giving you peace in a time of need.

The next time you find yourself in the midst of a “storm” think of this bee. Don’t crawl inside and hide…stand steadfast and immovable. Be strong and have the faith that “this too shall pass”. This is LIFE. It’s all we have. Embrace it and find the joy in it. There is always joy…sometimes you just have to look a little harder than others.

Remember to LOOK and then remember to LIVE. Life is a gift, use it wisely…

Purple Is The Color Of The Day

This morning I awoke to various shades of PURPLE. The iris are continuing to bloom in spite of the never ending rain.

I decided to “google” the color purple and this is what I found…

“Purple is the color of good judgment. It is the color of people seeking spiritual fulfillment. It is said if you surround yourself with purple you will have peace of mind. Purple is a good color to use in meditation.

Purple has been used to symbolize magic and mystery, as well as royalty. Being the combination of red and blue, the warmest and coolest colors, purple is believed to be the ideal color. Most children love the color purple. Purple is the color most favored by artists. Thursday’s color is purple.” Who knew that each day had a color associated with it? I didn’t and I don’t think my flowers did either because today is only Wednesday and my purple flowers are blossoming all over the yard. Maybe they got their days mixed up…

Another site stated this about the color purple…

“The color purple is a rare occurring color in nature and as a result is often seen as having sacred meaning. Lavender, orchid, lilac, and violet flowers are considered delicate and precious.

The color purple has a variety of effects on the mind and body, including uplifting spirits, calming the mind and nerves, enhancing the sacred, creating feelings of spirituality, increasing nurturing tendencies and sensitivity, and encouraging imagination and creativity.”

What do you think? Do my purple flowers calm your nerves and uplift your spirits?

My “satin slipper” finally bloomed overnight into a very wet iris this morning…

A very wet, newly bloomed iris.

More of these iris’s are continuing to bloom each day…

Everywhere I look I see purple today...

These too…

These stand out against the red and pink behind them.

Purple seems to be the shade of the day. What did you see that was purple today? Out of the three photo’s above which shade of purple is your favorite?

Mother Nature Never Sleeps

Every morning I receive a gift from Mother Nature. While we are all fast asleep during the night she continues to work miracles among the plants and flowers. Today I woke up to find many new flowers bursting forth with their beautiful colors.

The Iris are beginning to bloom. What was just a bud yesterday became a glorious flower overnight…

From bud to blossom overnight...

The Foxglove are beginning to blossom all over the yard…

We have so many foxglove all over the yard, this is just the beginning of their colorful display.

As I knelt to take a photo of this budding plant I noticed this little ant crawling all over the bud. I’m not sure what he’s up to but I thought it would be great to capture him on film…

What do you think this little ant is up to?

Did you take time to look around this morning? What gifts did Mother Nature give you today?

First Sunburn of the Year and a Few Other Surprises…

Yes, it’s true. I got fried today. I wasn’t even trying…

I woke up at 7:30 am to get my son ready for his Saturday morning baseball game. As I walked into his bedroom his first comment to me was, “What time is it?” The next question out of his mouth was, “How much time do I have before we have to leave?” When I announced that we had to leave in 50 minutes he was NOT HAPPY! He wanted to have at least an hour to relax, eat breakfast and watch cartoons. He made it very clear that he was NOT leaving for an hour.

After many tears (shed by him, not me) and a great deal of calm, controlled talking (by me, not him) we finally came to an agreement regarding the time we would leave…we would leave in 60 minutes. I know, you’re probably thinking I’m a wimp to give in to an 8 year old but honestly, we had 90 minutes until the game started so we had plenty of time. He was supposed to be there 30 minutes early to warm-up but hey, he would still have time.

As I walked back into my own bedroom to get dressed my husband looked up at me at said, “I’m sure glad you got to be the bad guy today!” We both laughed as I replied, “I’m sure you are.”

Normally, my son wakes up happy, however, he had stayed up late last night. I was prepared for the morning conversation as I knew he would be tired. He had begged to stay up late promising he would not be grumpy in the morning. I knew better… while I conceded and let him stay up late I knew the early morning routine would be rough. I’m happy to report that by the time we left for the game he was happy and smiling.

When we arrived at the ball field we began unloading all our gear. Gratefully, today we would not need any blankets or coats! The sun was shining and I was actually looking forward to watching the game while basking in the early morning sun.

Well…as you can imagine from reading the title to this post I got burned. I didn’t realize it at the time, but after we arrived home my right arm and the right side of my neck began to turn red. After a few more hours they were BRIGHT RED. After months and months of rain, I honestly did not think I would get sunburned at 9 am in the morning. I guess Summer has finally arrived!

I had planned on working in the yard all day but after assessing the situation and realizing that more sun would probably not be good for me, I decided to clean the inside of the house instead. After many hours of slaving away indoors, I finally decided to take a walk around the yard. Here are a few of the photos I took today…

I love watching the new growth appear as the old growth dies back. You can see a perfect example of this with some of the ferns in the yard…

The circle of life continues with this fern as the new life shoots forth and the old growth dies back.

Here is one with the new growth being unfurled a little more each day…

The new ferns are growing more each day.

If you look closely you can see the spider sitting in the middle of his web just waiting for his daily meal…

If you look closely you can see the spider in the middle of this web.

I love the vibrant color of the lilac trees…

I love the colors of the lilac trees!

The ever changing landscape is fun to watch…

It's fun to watch the progression of the plants as everything changes...

I love this little corner of the yard where the stone path leads you down to where the raspberries grow…

This pathway is almost hidden from view, in fact my husband didn't even know it was here until reading one of my previous posts where I had shown a photo.

After walking down the stone steps today I found these azalea’s tucked away near what used to be an oak tree (you can see the stump in the middle)…

This was a surprise today!

I love the bright colors against the green and brown background in this photo…

I love red in the landscape.

And this one too…

I love the soft pink of this Rhododendron.

I found some strawberries tucked away in this corner of the yard…

Yum! Can't wait for them to ripen.

Our rhubarb plant continues to flourish. Now if I could only think of something else to make besides rhubarb crisp…

I have no idea what to do with all the rhubarb...

The Iris are just about to bloom. You can begin to see the buds opening and shooting forth their colorful flowers here…

The beginning of a flower... For some reason this photo reminds me of a satin slipper, I'm not sure why...

I saw these just as I was heading back into the house…

I am constantly surprised with color in new places each and every day.

It has been fun to watch all the changing colors in our new yard. It seems that each day we are surprised with something new. What do you have growing in your yard? What are your favorites? What is your favorite color in your landscape? Are you taking time in your busy day to stop and notice the subtle changes in your landscape? If not, take a moment right now to walk around your yard and see what catches your eye…