“Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come”
Song of Songs, 2:12
With the hate and confusion of multiple tragedies going on in the world, I turn to prayer and the beauty of my rhododendrons.
How could one not stop and enjoy the beauty of what God brings us and become one with our senses of sight and smell?
Right now, our rhododendrons are in full bloom. I love these flowers so much, our home is surrounded by them. I cannot even begin to tell you how much joy these flowers bring me. Right before they bloom, the anticipation is immense! Similar to a child the night before Christmas, I am consistently checking the blooms, patiently waiting for their tiny petals to open wide for the my enjoyment.
I once told a colleague I was a tree hugger. She laughed and I said I was serious. I told her I meticulously care for my trees and plants, cutting off any dead branches that may be robbing the plant of nutrients. I talk to my plants and tell them how beautiful they are. I thank God for their beauty. It may sound crazy, but I almost bet my plants and trees hear me! They are that beautiful, as though it makes them proud with my compliments.
Lately I am obsessed with trying to capture their beauty. It is good for my art practice, provides me with a form of meditation and peace while shutting out all of the negativity in the world. It captures a perfect moment of beauty that I can enjoy until they bloom again.
My colleague brought me an array of gorgeous spring flowers last week. I was struck by the kindness of this because it was completely unexpected.
As I was sitting in my office, she popped in and set the flowers on the desk. The conversation went like this:
I said to her, “oh pretty!”
“Those are for you!” She said.
“Wait, what? Why?” I had asked with surprise.
“Because you are so wonderful!” She replied.
“What? Why?” Again to my surprise, I called out to her as she walked to her office. She didn’t reply.
I yelled out so she could hear me, “THANK YOU!“
“YOU’RE WELCOME!” she called back.
A sweet gesture with no given reason. I hadn’t done anything special.
I brought my flowers home to enjoy them on my patio. I tried to capture the yellow pansies as the rain had come and gone so much that week, I had to draw them and bring the sunshine of those happy flowers indoors.
I hope there is someone in your life that brings sunshine to your day. We all need a dose of sunshine in our lives!
“God made all kinds of trees that grow out of the ground – trees that were pleasing to the eye” Genesis 2:9
Life is beautiful!
I’m struck by the beauty of Spring. The other evening, my husband took me to the local Home Depot to look at trees. I wanted a Japanese Maple to plant outside my art studio window. Another sanctuary I was hoping to create.
As we walked around, I saw a Dogwood. Oh the beauty of this tree! I couldn’t make up my mind now! We left Home Depot empty handed.
The next morning, over coffee, my husband said to me, “did you think about what tree you wanted?” I sat there a moment and then sheepishly said “both”. I knew the answer would be no. He never said anything, but changed the subject to some pavers he had seen.
We went back to Home Depot later that morning and he asked again what maple I wanted. Then he said to pick out a Dogwood, then he said he wanted an additional Dogwood!
I was so excited I could hardly contain myself! Three trees!
Last night I dug a hole for my maple. Earlier my husband had planted the other two. The maple was going to be much harder, as that side of the yard had been neglected. Once I start a project I don’t know when to quit! I had to pull at the least, 10 feet of weeds and prepare the ground. Needless to say, this 46 year old body is unbelievably sore this morning!
There is still much too do, but when I am finished, this will be our little have and the view from my studio will create a peace I have been eagerly waiting for. As it fills in and has new growth, I will be surround by God’s beauty as the birds will enjoy their new playground.
Yesterday I had been working in our backyard pulling weeds in preparation to plant more flowers, trees and bushes. I am trying to create a secluded sanctuary for my husband and I. He said to me, “it is pretty much there”, this was upon my request of a lush yard. I remarked, “not yet, I can still see my neighbors”. I want to forget the world when I enter my backyard and it is slowly getting there.
As I was pulling weeds, my favorite flowers, the rhododendrons are in full bloom and I noticed the bumblebees flourishing around the blooms. I ran in the house to grab my camera. On the fence line we’re these tiny golden finches singing their hearts out and in the pine tree, the hummingbirds too, were singing at the top of their tiny lungs.
It reminded me of how wonderful the little things Jesus provides for us that so many overlook. I always soak in the beauty of it because like the little finches and the little hummingbirds that surround our home, my heart too sings with joy. But not out loud because I was not blessed with a voice as pretty as those little birds and if I sang with joy, there would be no birds! Oh how I wish I could sing!
My joy is overwhelmed by all of the nature in our yard and brings the music of my favorite hymns:
1. Then Sings My Soul
2. How Great Thou Art
3. Amazing Grace
4. It Is Well With My Soul
5. The Old Rugged Cross
I captured the image of the bumblebees and later in the afternoon, I pulled out my colored pencils to try and capture the beauty I saw earlier in the day. A tiny 3×3 drawing of one of nature’s small species but bursting with beauty, and my soul was singing! I hope yours sings too with all the beauty Jesus provides.
I know you may be thinking, these foods are so simple, what’s the big deal? Well, food allergies. That’s the big deal.
However, I have substituted certain ingredients and it’s simply not the same, unfortunately. I have mastered his hash browns to the perfect crispy consistency throughout. This morning I attempted potato pancakes from leftovers. I can’t have eggs, nor regular flour. However I did have patience and I needed it! A quarter cup of rice flour, a hot oiled pan and a big prayer for patience.
Just as in 2 Chronicles 15:7, “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded”.
I have been trying to master my father’s potato pancakes for years but they never turned out. This morning was different. Despite the ingredients not being the same, I was patient. And it paid off. They weren’t perfect, and they were thinner than his, but in that very moment, the color is what captured the essence of my father. Perfectly golden brown. I know he looked over me and smiled. I could have cried. I did cry!
Just remember, never give up no matter what you are striving for! Remember God and practice patience because you will be rewarded.
I love my husband. Last night he made me a soft dinner. Something I could easily chew after going to the dentist.
I was so scared to go. It was the first time ever I had to have a root canal. The dentist new I was nervous as I always am, even before a routine cleaning.
What I didn’t realize was how bad the tooth had been. The dentist asked me if I had any pain. I replied with a simple no. He scowled. “None? No pain? Any sensitivity?” I shook my head no. He had pondered my answer.
My tooth was infected so bad, the infection was already into my jaw bone. I will spare you the gory details of what he found lurking in the darkness within the left side of my face. After the procedure he put me on an aggressive antibiotic plan to clear up the infection. He warned me that I would be sore and asked if I wanted a prescription for pain medication. I said no. I could see from the look on his face that was not the answer he was expecting. I told him I’d be fine with Ibuprofen.
Honestly the only significant pain I have is a headache and I was pretty dizzy this morning. And I don’t like how these antibiotics are making me feel. Nauseated.
I have to remind myself though, as nervous and scared as I was, especially with the pandemic, I needed to turn to God and I did. I prayed for Him to keep me safe and calm my nerves. And He did as He was working through the dentist. With every little move, the dentist spoke to me, telling me what to expect, what I would feel, smell, hear and taste. He frequently asked how I was doing and if I had any pain, putting me at ease with every minute passing. That is the power of God and I can almost bet the dentist didn’t realize it.
Below is a tiny picture I drew. I drew the dark, scared feeling I get prior to going to the dentist. Now, my dentist by far, does NOT look like this, but my imagination can sure make things scarier than they really are.
Turn to God in moments when you are scared. You’d be surprised at what He can do for you.
Life is full of surprises. I thought I knew myself pretty well until this pandemic came along. Apparently I didn’t know myself at all.
What have I learned from this pandemic?
1. Art appreciation. Yes, I have been drawing, painting and coloring more and I sure have missed it! Art is my meditation. Since working from home, the stress have driven me to open my creative mind again. I haven’t picked up a pencil in at least seven years.
2. I am a working woman. I love the hustle of work. Or do I? I have enjoyed being home too much! When I need to go into the office, which requires commuting, it makes me seriously cranky. I am thankful I can work from home, but now my mind is wandering to hopefully get remote work. Someday anyway.
3. I am thankful! Being home has forced me to be thankful with many things. I am thankful I’m still working. I am thankful for my health, my family’s health. I am thankful!
4. Grateful. I am grateful for the food I can find. Store shelves are still pretty sparse and I have many food allergies. I am grateful for the food I can find to eat. But I do miss bulk items like fresh ground peanuts for peanut butter and organic mixed nuts. Bulk items are not available where I am since the pandemic. They have been pulled for safety reasons.
5. Prayer. I have prayed far more and believe I am closer to God since the pandemic. I pray for the health of others and many other things. What I pray for most is to find a way to find peace with myself because Monday morning as the work week begins, my stomach is in knots, and I cry. I cry a lot. Maybe I am not the crazy hustle of a working woman like I thought I was. There is not much I can do about it, so I continue to pray.
The pandemic has changed my life in subtle ways. More so than what I have shared. My wants and needs have shifted and it’s amazing how that has transformed me. I have a different outlook on reality and myself. I wonder how many people out there have realized the same thing?
I sat out on the back porch yesterday after work with a glass of wine. I didn’t have the greatest day; well, it started out great, then I received an email that pretty much made my head spin off. But I tell you, I was proud of myself because as angry as I was, I stopped in the very moment and prayed.
I prayed asking for my energy not to be wasted on this email from this person. Tears filled my eyes but they did not fall! After a moment of sitting there in silence and text venting to my husband, I was overwhelmed by peace again and the last couple of work hours were satisfying.
I need to let God handle these situations more often. I can easily get so worked up on things and waste valuable time and energy. If that isn’t the devil beaming in the background! I will not be a miserable, complaining person. I refuse to do it and I’ve been working truly hard to maintain positivity in such negative times right now.
Like blowing on dandelions, praying sends those problems to God and let Him handle it. The next time you are feeling down, blow those problems up to God. He will give you the peace you need.
My husband and I walked the perimeter of Walmart last week, looking at the array of colorful plants. The only reason I agreed to go with him is we were going to look at plants. I’m not very fond of Walmart, and never have been.
He insisted we add some color to the yard, as we are filled with evergreens. I am not much on annuals or perennials, because they die so quickly after a short bloom. As we are walking through the garden center, I really started noticing the colors of flowers. They were a magnificent blend of brilliant colors, and those pale in color had intricate petals great and small. I was so intrigued, I took out my cell phone and starting taking pictures.
My husband just rolled his eyes.
When we arrived home, I scanned through my images and one particular one, stood out. So I decided to see if I could capture its beauty with my new 150 count Prismacolor pencils my husband recently purchased for me from Blick Art Materials. I was excited to start using them and this would be the perfect opportunity to truly see how I could capture their beauty.
How can something be so beautiful? God’s work amazes me, as we are surrounded by beauty no matter the season. “All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you” Song of Songs, 4:7. There are no flaws in these flowers, no dull colors. They perfectly hold their blooms high, stretching out of their pots, in hopes we will take notice. How could we not?
The gloom of the world today can weigh me down. But I have took note, with the flowers in bloom, the colors within my pencils, the pigment of the lead is pulled across the paper, I full heartily try to capture the essence of these flowers.