A Different Kind of Short Story

Friends from the Garden

The sun shone brightly upon the earth below as greenery and life awoke in the backyard garden from its long winter’s nap.

“Susan. Hey, how are you? It is so good to see you again this year. How was your nap?

“It was good Daisy, how was yours?”

“It was good. Feels so great to stretch towards the warmth of the sun.”

“It looks like you have a part there that is not wanting to stretch out.”

“It was a hard winter. I had ice packed in all around me. Hoping the sun will tease it on out.”

“Well, hello there my little beautiful friends.”

“Foxy, how in the world are you? Good to see you rejoin us this year,” said Daisy.

“It’s always good to be seen. Did I miss anything yet?”

“No. We are just getting started. I remember last fall the gardener just threw out a bunch of old seeds in that empty space over there where Lupi was. It used to be just grassy weeds and such. Wonder what will grow there.”

“Oh, I remember ole Lupi being there by herself. Always complaining that her gorgeous pink color was being wasted away in the weeds,” said Susan.

“I remember back in the day when that was a beautiful bed of Lupines, Bee Balm and various lilies. The old gardener left and Morning Glories took over and choked everybody out,” said Foxy as he stretched his stalk toward the sun as new buds for blooms started to form.

“Glory was beautiful but a little wild for my liking,” explained Daisy.

“I agree,” said the every stretching Black Eyed Susan as she bent her petal toward the sun. “But if the new gardener didn’t rake up all of Glory’s seeds when he cleaned out the dried stalks last fall, they will be back. They are quite persistent.”

The sun awakened more wonderful life from the ground over the next few days and green sprouts of various shades were being seen not only around the main bed of established friends but over in the new bed where new life was beginning to show itself.

“Hi everyone,” said a bright red chrysanthemum as she popped up next to Susan, opening her bright petals toward the sun.

“Chrissy, hey. Great to see you again this year.”

“Anything new?” Chrissy asked.

“We don’t know yet,” said Susan. “We are watching across the way to that bed where the Glories took over. Supposedly the new gardener worked in there last fall. But we haven’t even see Lupi yet. She is usually up by now.”

 “I hope the glories didn’t finish her off,” moaned Foxy.

“Or maybe the gardener dug her up,” whispered Daisy.

“That would really be bad,” said Chrissy.

“Look Susan, those stalks are getting tall as you,” said Daisy as the breeze moved them around. “Let’s see if they will talk to us.”

“But what it they don’t like us, like the Glories,” cautioned Chrissy.

“They look to be stem oriented, instead of take-over vines. So maybe they will at least be nice. Yoo hoo,” called Daisy and she called across the yard.

To everyone’s surprise, several stems of various sizes and shades of green turned in their direction with help from the breeze, each swaying lightly. Some of the small stems already had small blue bell shaped flowers. The taller stems had larger buds but were not yet open.

“Hello,” said one of the small blue flowers.

“Hello,” said Daisy, who was always ready to greet anyone with a smile. “We in this small patch of white blooms are Daisies. Those lovely yellow blooms next to us are Black-eyed Susans. And a red chrysanthemum is stuck here in the middle. We wanted to welcome you to spring.”

“Hey what about me,” said the Foxglove being hurt for getting left out of the introduction.

“Sorry Foxy. This is Foxy, he is just getting started. Once he fully opens up and gets his height, he will be amazing. And that red beauty is Chrissy.”

“Thanks, Daisy. I forgive you for forgetting me. Welcome aboard friends to a wonderful garden space,” Foxy shouted over to the new friends.

“The call me BB. That is short for Blue Bell. My family comes from Scotland.”

“Hello BB, said a bud on a tall stem next to her. I too am a bell flower. They call me Tall Bell.”

“May be we can call you TB for short,” whispered BB shyly as she looked up at the tall stem moving in the breeze. “What will your color be?”

“Blue like you, but I am more of a star shape than a gentle bell like you.”

“What is that interesting smell,” exclaimed Foxy trying not to be rude of the pungent smell that suddenly hit the air.

A small quiet voice coughed from the back of the new bed trying not to interfere in the conversation. “Sorry guys. That would be me. I have a disgusting but realistic nick-name of Skunk Weed but I really come from the Spider Lilly family. I am a Rocky Mountain Bee Plant and true to my name, and smell, the bees love me.”

“That’s okay,” said Susan. “Some of us have different smells and some of us have no smell at all. It’s all part of the garden plan.”

“And some of us are liked for how we taste,” came a voice in the back of the original flower bed.

“Chicky baby,” cheered Foxy. “You came back.”

“Whenever I can,” laughed the tall blue Chicory flower as it danced in the breeze. How are we all doing this year? Oh, I see we have new friends. Hello.”

Hello came several calls from across the way.

“Have we seen Sunny yet? He was always such a hoot,” asked Chicky.

“It’s a little early yet for him. Plus the birds usually plant them and I have not seen the feeder get filled yet. Maybe soon,” said Daisy.

As the day wore on, they noticed the gardener come to fill the bird feeder with sunflower seeds so they knew that someday soon, Sunny would be back to visit them. The flowers chatted happily as the sun warmed their hearts making them shine brightly in the sun.

The following morning broke with a grayness all around them. Daisy hung her head and Susan tried to close her petals as a light mist covered them. While the plants themselves enjoyed the water, the flowers worried of bacteria and fungus being in the water that would make them sick and could kill them.

But by the next morning, the warmth of the sun was again surrounding them shaking off their fears the moisture had caused. Daisy stretched her head and followed the warmth of the sun. Susan and her friends hummed softly in the breeze as they swayed back and forth. Then a muffled gasping sound came from the bed across the way as something new was bursting from the ground that was loosened from the previous day’s moisture.  

The new flowers of the bed turned to watch a tall spike begin to raise its head toward the sun. Its top buds were still tightly closed but shades of lovely purple were being seen in the lower buds as they were cracking open to receive the sun’s warmth. The flowers marveled at the lovely shade of purple knowing that it fit so well with their various shades of blue with a few white asters scattered about.

“Oh my,” said the flower once it caught the warming rays of the sun. “That really feels good.”

“Lupi, is that you,” asked Daisy as she stretched to see better, not quite sure what she was seeing.

“Why, of course it’s me. I am the longtime resident of this bed. Who else would it be?” she asked flippantly.

“Well,” said Daisy as she looked over at her friends who refused to say anything, for what they saw was shocking. “I guess we are a bit shocked as you are usually early with us. We were concerned about you being late and…you look different.”

“I was late because I got extra dirt poured over me,” she said defiantly. “When I get my height, I will be as elegant as ever.  I am the same rose colored Lupine,” she said as her voice faded to a whisper as she looked over herself. He rose colors were gone. Too many years she had been in the ground and with age she had reverted back to the original color of purple.

“Oh, no. I am ruined,” she all but sighed. “My beautiful rose color is gone. I am now…old,” she said as she hung her head in sadness. Her tall spike falling next to TB who gently caressed her.

“How can you think you are old?” TB asked. “Your vibrant purple makes the rest of us come together as one. We have been shades of blue with the scattering of white and now with your beauty, you bring us together even more as a family of lovely colors.”

“Really,” she asked.

“Yes,” shouted Daisy and Susan from across the way.

“But I have always been a lovely rose color, now I am the standard purple,” Lupi said sadly.

“There is nothing standard about your shade of purple,” said BB. “My name is Blue Bell of Scotland, my friends call me BB. That tall fella by you is TB, Tall Bell flower and our white star shaped lily like flowers around us are asters. While each of us is quite beautiful, there is nothing as rich as you in this bed.”

“Hey Lupi,” called Foxy, “Remember, it is the Queen who gets to wear the purple.”

“You are all being so kind to me in my sadness,” she said sweetly. “Thank you. I have not always been kind in the past. I am so sorry my, friends.”

“It’s because you were over there by yourself for so long,” said Daisy. “Now you have new friends. Share your beauty with them and let your kindness shine.”

“Thank you, Daisy. And thank you, my new friends. I would be honored to share my height of purple in kindness to show you how kind you are being to me. Let us shine out together.

So as the Lupine, the various bell flowers and aster lilies raised their blooms to the sun, the kindness of that small garden reflected gently in the breezes as they moved through the yard all spring and into summer. And the summer fun of both beds brought in a new fragrance of peace that spread out through the entire yard making it a place where the small creatures, the birds and the gardeners enjoy spending much time.

Amazing Beauty of Nature

Every season has its own beauty but to me the stoic yet amazing constant in all seasons is the tree. Today I wrote a poem in honor of the beauty of a tree. Hope you enjoy.

Oh, To Be A Tree

Oh, to be a tree, sometimes I wish I was thee

Especially this time of year, when the sky is not clear

Oh, to be a tree, it would be great to be thee

In the long winters keep, all you would do is sleep

Oh, to be a tree, that’d be the life for me

When weather begins to warm, the bees begin to swarm

Oh to be a tree, the honey would drip from thee

With your leaves so green, and the birds sit to preen

Oh to be a tree, the beauty you would see

As your leaves grow thick, the shade is the trick

Oh to be a tree, the laugher just for thee

Of children come to play, making joy of the day

Oh, to be a tree, sometimes I wish I was thee

Then the leaves turn brown, as they fall to the ground

Oh, to be a tree, the beautiful colors you would be

When the snow starts to fall, go and sleep for us all

Oh, to be a tree, how magnificent that would be.

Anita Neal

And as a reminder that I always close with, never forget the beauty of Kindness, in all seasons of life.

Evening Encouragement, Peace

Good evening friends. Sometimes in life we find ourselves in a predicament, and a lot of times it is self-made. And when we fret over the complications we have made, we lose our peace of mind and our step with Christ. Then we are in a real mess. The way to fix that is to turn and go back the way we know we should go. I have been reading a little book called “Keep it Simple” by Ellyn Sanna. It’s a wonderful little short book of quotes and scripture to help us Find Peace in a Hectic World.  So tonight I am posting a few of her thoughts and quotes.

Take One Day at a Time

When we learn to take one day at a time, one step at a time, we begin to see the beauty in the stillness around us. This beauty was created by God to give us the peace we would need knowing this life would indeed be hectic.

Teach me the art of creating islands of stillness, in which I can absorb the beauty of everyday things: clouds, trees, a snatch of music…Marion Stroud

I believe that in each little thing created by God there is more than what is understood, even if it is just a little ant. Teresa of Avila

Now that we are surrounded by this virus and being secluded in the safety of our homes, we have a tendency to worry about tomorrow and what we need to do to fix things…that we can’t fix. It kind of puts us in a chair in front of the window to wait, watch and trust that Jesus will take care of it all…and He will.

True serenity comes when we give ourselves to God. Ellyn Sanna

So I challenge you to put a small table by your chair at the window. As you watch and wait, enjoy a cold beverage or hot cup of coffee and trust in the Lord to make things right. Enjoy the beauty you see and absorb His peace.

If in the US, I send you prayers for a wonderful Thanksgiving and if you are having to be alone this year due to isolation, bring an extra glass to the table for God. I promise He will be with you as well. If not in the US and still in isolation, still bring that extra glass to the table when you eat so God can surround you with His peace.

And as always, I remind all of us the value of kindness in all we do. It may make the difference in one life that is needed.

Different Perspective on View

Good evening friends. Hope you are all doing well. I went to the doctor today for just a checkup and I am healthy as a horse…and heavy as one. Not a good thing. No wonder my knees are bothering me. I was so discouraged when I left and then I realized how very lucky and healthy I really am. I am fortunate to not be on any medication at all, a few supplements and that is it. I have always joked that I am not fat – just fluffy. But now it’s real.

Then on K-Love radio an encouragement message came on that gave me a different perspective. Yes I am still overweight and will work on it but the reality of it is our bodies are God’s temples. It’s where He lives. And He loves His homes, all of them regardless of how the exterior looks.

We as people stress a lot on appearance. Sometimes it is for our safety against the elements but sometimes it is judgemental, not only against ourselves but against others or what we think other people may think. But since God lives in us, He knows what our innermost parts look like and that is what he is interested in.  He doesn’t care about our exterior, He wants a beautiful interior.

So while we need a healthy exterior, and interior, the condition of our heart and attitude is what needs to be the most beautiful part of us. It’s hard. There is so much around us that brings up that negative vibe that causes cracks in our beautiful interior. Then we then have to, with God’s help, do some interior renovations to make it beautiful again.

Remember that God loves you, that He will never live where He is not wanted but will thrive in us if we allow it, making us bloom like spring regardless of how it may look.

  With God it is always a matter of the heart. May you feel His love this evening as He brings love, peace and flowers to your heart.  And as your flowers grow, remember to be kind. Kindness is the most beautiful type of flower.

Been Busy

I have been so super busy since the end of September that I have not had time to even look at the computer much less get on it to write. In September I finished painting and decorating the kitchen from the grossness of tacky wallpaper…

I show this corner of the kitchen as it goes down to the basement because it shows the most wall. Tiny kitchen…way too busy a wallpaper. Time to get rid of it. So I stripped it off, and repainted and added more interesting décor.

The plants in the hangers are live. I decorated the grapevine wreath on the wall and now the room looks bigger. Then my Christmas project came in…

So since the kitchen was done, I have been getting the wooded decorations painted to hang on the fence with garland and red bows. Here are a few of the 11 balls. They go up 1st week of November. Yes I decorate early. And this year we are looking to get it done and have better things for the coming year.

So now we are varnishing them to protect them. And while the paint is drying, I am posting. As I sit on my couch and watch the feeders, I forget how big the Blue Jays are when I usually just have the Chickadees or sparrows.

It is fun in life sometimes to just stop and watch nature’s beauty that is all around you. So take the time today to see the beauty surroinding you and remember to always be kind.

One all the painting is done, I will get back to my daily words of interesting tid bits. Be safe.

Compassion Encouragement

Happy Saturday Friends. I want to share some encouragement with you as we all need encouraging from time to time. Today I want us to think about how encouraging compassion can be for those who receive it as well as those who give it. It is a key component I believe of Christians, yet those who don’t really know Christ have the ability to have compassion as well. It is a gift from God.  I saw a video this morning that showed true care and compassion towards animals. For encouragement to our church family, my pastor’s has a daily devotion online since some are still on lockdown. This week he has been going through creation and how as creation was done, it was methodical. Each part of creation was essential to the next part of creation. For example the sun, moon and stars were created before much else was to establish the ability to mark time, and to give us light – a separation from all darkness. Plant life, which needed the light that was earlier created, was then created to sustain life that came after it as food supply and for the air we breathe. We breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, plant life breathes in carbon dioxide and exhales oxygen. It is all important for survival. We support each other. And later animals were created right before man and man was created to care for the animals. Of course that changed with the fall but the intent was care, compassion…and mutual love.

While Genesis 1:26 reminds us that we have dominion over animals, Proverbs 12:10 reminds us to do it with compassion.

I am always encouraged when I see people going above and beyond in caring for animals who find themselves in a no win situation. The video below shows the compassion of a group of men who found a dolphin that had been washed up by Hurricane Laura landing the dolphin in a pond 9 miles away from the ocean. They came together to safely capture the dolphin and take it back to the ocean. It was most encouraging.


https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/video/hurricane-lauras-storm-surge-traps-bottlenose-dolphin-miles-from-the-ocean

God made us all with compassionate hearts towards His creation, not only to the nature side but also to the human side. Where would any of us be without the compassion from others. WE all have struggles. The definition of compassion is a strong deep feeling of sympathy and sorrow for anyone or any creature who is hurting in any fashion. Jesus is our greatest example for us to learn by, as He was compassion for us and taught us how to have compassion and use it to further His kingdom.

When we think of the compassion God always has towards us, we should embody that compassion for others. We should always be on the alert to share His love in any encounter we may face. We all know many friends or family members right now who are fighting health issues, hurting emotionally, scared, wondering what’s next and we should always be ready to reach out to all of them to let them know we are here ready to help in any way we can and that we are to fervently pray for them. Tonight, I lift my heart out to all who are hurting in any way and hope this prayer below brings you a  moment of encouraging peace and compassion. 

And as sad or hopeless you may feel, know there is always kindness out there for you to receive and share wherever you can. Sometimes it needs to start from you first and then blossom to a beauty you didn’t know existed.

Anita Neal — I Write Her

A Monarch Task The warmth awakens me but I am tightly bound. I can’t move. My lifeblood is pulsing through my veins, waiting to explode. My head is pounding and screaming to break free of this dungeon. Yet, I can’t move. A crack appears at the top of the cell, bright light is filtering in. […]

Anita Neal — I Write Her

Thank you so much to Susi Bocks of I Write Her for publishing my poetry. It is an honor and an encouragement when others enjoy what you enjoy doing.

What Defines Us

We are defined not by what happens to us but by how we react to what happens to us.

In a Oswald Chambers’ devotion, he made a statement that I knew but he shed a different light on it that I had not thought about before now.

“Our Lord’s temptations and ours are in different realms until we are born again and become His brothers. The temptations of Jesus are not those of a mere man, but the temptations of God as Man.” Oswald Chambers  

When I look at it that way it makes me go – WOW. Temptation to me is an inner draw toward something we think we need but know in the end, if we really think about it, it will not be good for us.  It’s a trial, as it were, of free will in being faithful or unfaithful in a choice that affects you and possibly others. But James 1:13-18 reminds us that while temptations give into sin and sin gives birth to death, God’s perfect gift from above still shows how much he loves us…even when we fail.

But the statement that Oswald made that made a lightbulb come for me was this…

“satan does not tempt us just to make us do wrong things— he tempts us to make us lose what God has put into us through regeneration, namely, the possibility of being of value to God. He does not come to us on the premise of tempting us to sin, but on the premise of shifting our point of view, and only the Spirit of God can detect this as a temptation of the devil.” Oswald Chambers

But we can take courage in whatever we face because of what Jesus did for us on the cross…  

WE just have to remember that and stand firm…knowing at times we will fail…but God also knew we would fail, yet still He gave us a chance for eternal life.

It reminds me of the TV show years ago called Mission Impossible and the opening statement of each show saying – “If you choose to accept this mission”. Following Christ to me is very much a mission and we are in a mission field. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose but we are always loved…and saved. So come on everyone…

Sing praises to Him who Gives us HIS grace and let that be what defines you.

And he does not care if you can sing or not, it’s all joyful noise to Him.

Ans as always we close with reminders of Kindness. Kindness definitely defines who you are by how you react, so be kind.

The images I use are random pictures from the internet when I type in scripture verses or themes.

Things That Bring Us Peace, FOTD

This morning is another beautiful day. I walk around my small yard and thoroughly enjoy the peace God put there for me to see.

Especially after a night of police chases down our quiet street…twice. Proof that satan is busy all around us and now more than ever we need the rest and peace of Christ. Sarah Young reminds us this morning in her devotional Jesus Calling of the importance of resting in Him. Through the quiet restful time devoted to God we find His peace and love. He wants us to know how very much he loves us and it breaks his heart when we feel unworthy of His love. He said we were worth it and that we should never feel that we are not.

He will rejoice over you with His love

I think we sometimes gets caught up in idea that we need to earn our love from Him but with Him His love is boundless. And He loved us long before we started doing any type of work.

So I encourage you today to take joy in His love for you and let His light warm your soul.

And may He bring you Peace.

I leave you with some more beauty from my yard to enjoy Cee’s Flower of the Day. Flowers do make me smile and remind me of God’s love for us. And if they are fragrant, that is even better.

And as always, I remind you of the beauty and magic of kindness.

Beauty in the Sky

Things that Fly

This is an awkward story, rather a poem of things that fly

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Of God’s creation on day five of things that fill the sky

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Big things and small things can zoom through the air

Other things just float or flutter with acrobatical  affair

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Heavy things and light things, so many types there be

One must pay attention to all the beauty you can see

It was day five that God created the many things that fly

To show us the beauty of Him that love us…way up high

Anita Neal

If you enjoy being outside, look around at all that there is to see. There is life and beauty everywhere, big and little, fast and slow. All with their unique purpose and task to complete.  And as always I remind you the beauty and important attribute of Kindness. In all that we do, we should always be kind.

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