As spring really begins to open in the Midwest, there is an old adage that says “plant nothing until Mother’s Day”. Even though the days are warmer, the nights are still quite chilly and I think some of the bush flowers are still in “hopeful” mode that it will be warm soon.
Miniature white azalea bush
Last fall I had to trim my lilac bushes as they was getting into the cable wires going to the house. It was well over 12′ high. I was concerned it would not bloom this year since we cut it back so much…but it did…carefully and hopefully.
Other plants are showing their hopes as they creep out from under bushes or pop out from between blocks, determined to grow.
The purple flower goes with the green vine and I have no idea what it is called. It was in a flower pot of various plants that broke at the end of summer…still, it was determined to live. The lily is from an easter lily that I was given last spring and I forgot that I had laid it on the ground. The dog got into it in the fall and looky here, its trying to show its beauty. Nature has a resilience that people should learn from her. Stay strong, stay true to yourself, and beauty will come.
With this beauty and strength, we must also be kind. Kindness has a strength that shows everyone of its ability to breakdown most any wall that is willing to receive love in kindness.
All of God’s creation understand kindness. We should use it more often with each form of His creation.
Those of us from the south fully understand what the Mississippi River can do during hurricane season where it empties into the Gulf of Mexico. But here in the Midwest, we don’t worry so much about hurricanes…we worry about snowmelt. These first pictures are from last summer at the bandstand down at the river where we have weekly outdoor concerts.
But this year is one of the flooding years. They don’t always look this bad but this year may set a record. If you can see that white dotted line across the center of the water…that is the tops of the white chairs from above and the current water level is almost to the bandstand floor level. The water is not due to crest until Monday. The concerts may be late this year.
I was not able to take a picture because I was driving across the bridge, but they were cutting the grass of the baseball field. The building in the thirds set of pictures behind the Bandits sign is the baseball stadium and they have floodgates around it so the stadium stays dry. But I chuckled at the irony of them cutting the grass.
Always remember that life can throw you curve balls. Some you get to hit out of the way and some knock you down. But God is always there by your side to help you either way. Feel His love surround you and reflect His kindness.
I have shared this particular sunflower before but I am giving you an update, it bloomed. And Cee always reminds us of the beauty in all that we see.
I shared an earlier photo when this sunflower, planted by the birds, first started growing. I didn’t have the heart to pluck it out. And now its a miniature, at 3+ feet tall, of its brothers who are currently standing at 12-14 feet high. A truth that nature, if given the chance, will survive.
May we all be survivors having the stamina, courage and determination to continue on. And while you are surviving, remember to be kind. It shows extra courage and perseverance.
I am taking a course to help my writing. Today it focused on poetry, something I dabble in but am not great in. But I was taken back by the samples of poems we studied and how very sad they all were. Then the other people in the class also seemed a bit sad but loved the sadness of the poem. I was confused. The leader of the class wanted us to focus on gratitude and how we wrote about being grateful.
I understand that for some that may be difficult but for me, I just look up and around at all the beauty around us and am very grateful. Yes, there is ugliness all around as well but I think if we look more intently, we can see more beauty than ugly. I also understand that I am now safe and comfortable but I do know what it is to suffer, to be oppressed and to be the victim of abuse. I just chose to look past that and am blessed in being able to be at a point in my life where I can be grateful.
For homework, we had to write a poem about what draws us to write. So while we all have a life to live, I wrote about the beauty life can be. And thought I would share my poem with you.
Ode to Life
I step out the door, take in a breath and listen to the energy of life
The force of it comes wielding our way like a sharp unstoppable knife
I close my eyes, taking in the smells as they deftly assault my nose
Fresh mown grass and lavender compete with the sweet red rose
The tinkling of the wind chime is what I hear first
Then the hawk calls out with her shrill short burst
The bees hum softly while quenching their thirst
And birds at the feeder are fighting to be first
Life is shared on all of creation, a gift with love that is never easy
Some parts are harder than others and some parts can make us queasy
But each part has its own beauty, a beauty we find hard to see
For it is the creator intension that we should all live free
When life gets hard, we want to back away
Confrontation, not something we want to stay
But confrontations now will make us strong
Giving us wisdom to survive the throng
So come let us step outdoors, breathing in this beautiful life
Understanding some days are good and some are fully strife
If we focus more on the good, our faces will begin to smile
And the beauty of life around us will help us conquer this trial.
In all of life remember the power and beauty of being kind. That in itself is a gift.
Since the fall of creation, the planet and its many species have been at war with each other. Some fight to establish dominance, some fight to protect their homes. When we think of war, we think of people for they are the most ruthless and demeaning of all but I want us to think of smaller territories…basically the back yard.
Since March I switched from the suet feeders to the seed feeders. I have been enjoying the various birds that come to my yard and through switching feeds around, I have settled on Saffron seeds for two reasons. One squirrels don’t like them and various birds that I consider take over birds (Grackles & sparrows) are generally not a big fan of Saffron. Yes, I lose some of the other birds I enjoy watching but the ‘war’ seems to be less intense. While sparrows are cute and cuddly, they come in swarms and deplete the feeders before anyone else can have any so, sorry guys but you are pigs.
What I did not expect to see was the war between the Blue Jay and the Robin. While I do have a ring of peanuts for the Blue Jays and the Woodpeckers, I have a platform feeder with Saffron for the Robins and the Mourning Doves. The rest of the feeders are tube feeders filled with Saffron.
I did some research and found that Jays and Robins generally have strong animosity towards each other but will nest in the same tree. Coming from the south, I am well aware of tactics of Jays and always thought the Robins to be the gentle bird. Not in my yard. If a Jay dare show his face in my yard, the Robins come out of nowhere and run them off. Its quite comical. The obvious leader of the Jays in this area is quite large and beautiful. He is a large male that is a good bit bigger that the Robin – no matter, he runs from the Robin.
I write a lot in my blogs about being kind to all kinds but you can’t train out instincts of nature. One day we will all get along, but not today. So until, that day, try to always be kind. You will be surprised of the encouragement you will spread.
Sammi Cox tells us with her challenge that Weekend Writing prompt is a word prompt to get your creativity flowing. How you use the prompt is up to you. Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like. Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise. If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments. Word Prompt is:
The hawk’s next meal is unknown to him as he soars effortlessly on the summer breeze. He sends out his shrill call to his mate or fellow hawks as they all float in the upper air drafts of the sky while scanning the earth floor below in search of an unknown victim that will be their next meal.
While all life is precious, the rules of nature are always at play. So it is always important to share kindness wherever you can, for some are victims and some are just plain lost.
Hello, my name is Violet. I am here today to tell you my story. But flowers can’t talk you say…I beg to differ. Think of the peace you see and feel when you see a group of us together gently moving in the breeze, we are speaking to you from our beauty. Or think of those who are very fragrant and our scent is wafting lightly in the air. It makes you smile and you close your eyes in enjoyment. See, we may not use words but we speak loudly…quietly. I know It confusing. But I want to tell you my story, well mine and my two friends. Our caretaker had us in her office. Well, it really wasn’t and office. It was a space underneath a mezzanine in a plant where huge injection molding machines worked. It was smelly, hot and kind of difficult to live in but we managed to do well and continued to bloom…until that day. It was a bad day, a Saturday, a day where my caretaker did have to come to work. A day where she was not able to protect us. A sad scary day.
It started like any other day. Things were humming along as usual until all of a sudden there a loud pop, then gurgling whooshing sound and the next thing you know, all three of us are covered in hydraulic fluid. This is not a substance we are known to be able to grow in. The walls outside the mezzanine were covered and it dripped down everywhere like thick melting goo. It covered floor, other machines, desktops, computers…and us. And it was very warm. We knew were were going to die.
On Monday when our caretaker came in, she immediately went into action. She knew we would probably die but she was at least going to give us a fighting chance. She washed us in Dawn. I had heard that it was safe on animals and many have been saved from oil slicks but we are plants…and violets, very sensitive plants. She gently washed all of the dirt and oil away from us where we were naked for the whole world to see. It was so embarrassing. But she then replanted us in fresh new potting soil and took us home to recuperate. And all three of us survived. Last year one of us got sick when the heater went out. His already weakened system could not tolerate the cold and we lost him. But now as you can see, I am back to blooming. My other friend has not bloomed yet but his leaves are bright green and full so blooms are not far behind.
I just wanted to share my story to let you know the value of kindness, even in a situation where all may seem lost. Good can still come out of a kind try, so always be kind.
I don’t know if it is because of my quirky personality or just a loose screw but the newer fad of putting googly eye on inanimate objects makes me laugh. Recently a friend of mine, who has the same loose screw, sent me a photo and told me where to go to look up more photos of the same and I did. After a good chuckle, I decided a story needed to be written, to remind us to laugh even when it hard, and for us here to not forget the recent derecho that pushed through Iowa leaving millions of dollars of damage. Some are still dealing with its aftermaths. A derecho is like a short termed hurricane running across the ground. So here you go…as told by the local trees.
The Storm of 2020, In Memory of Slim
This silly story does have a heart to heart true message. Life can be hard and can knock you down from time to time. But don’t give up. That life storm may be just the thing to help you be what God needs you to be. Hang on, reach out to His hand and left Him guide you through all of life’s storms.
Let His goodness, love, patience, peace and kindness wrap around you snuggly so that you can show others that God never leaves you alone. He is always by your side. So have faith as best as you can, smile as much as you can and always be kind, even when it is hard.
Tonight I release a little bit more. A little more pain, a little more hurt, and gain a little more courage and a little more self worth. Its been a long journey and I pour out a little more of my soul with the help of my computer to continue my journey in healing. Tonight I watched again, the movie “I Can Only Imagine”. Fabulous movie and the song is probably my favorite all time song. If you haven’t seen it, or heard the song, you need to.
This true story of pain and courage from an abusive home and the hope from its story’s journey has been a huge inspiration to me to remind me there is life after abuse. There is hope after abuse. And there are dreams after abuse.
While I did not come from a physically abusive home towards me when growing up, there were the occasional drunken brawls of abuse between my parents. And what so many do not understand is that there are many forms of abuse other than physical and all of them are detrimental to children of the home.
Colossians 3 reminds us of correct rules for Christian homes reminding parents that they are to love each other as Christ loves them and to not discourage and embitter the children. When children become discouraged from abuse in the home, it sets a standard for their understanding and let me just tell you – No one…No one…and I say it again…No one should be allowed to harm another person with physical action or with words, whether they are family, friend or a total stranger.
Because a lot of times it creates a cycle and it takes a lot of courage and effort to break that cycle. I was not strong enough to do that. Off and on for twenty years I stayed in an abusive marriage. It took two divorces from the same man for me to finally break free of this pattern. And it took another ten for me to gain strength and courage to survive on my own, with three children. Then it took another ten for me to find a new life of courage and self worth with new dreams. Life is hard and I don’t know how anyone can survive this life without Jesus Christ, its hard enough for those of us who do follow him.
My revisited dream of being a writer is actually coming to the front. Will I be a best seller, no, but my second book is in process of being printed and I am hoping it will be out in October. It is a sequel of my first book…about dogs. God instills in us survival techniques that sometimes can come out in various art forms. Some people turn to music, some to painting but I turned to writing. Dogs were a big part of my survival so I turned them into people and wrote about them. It was fun and encouraging for me as I still fight with self worth. When you are told for many years how worthless you are, it takes a while to flush that all down the toilet. I am enclosing one of the first poems I ever place of WordPress. I was inspired by a fellow blogger’s photo and it shows how even now I struggle with self worth in Christ knowing full well to him I am precious. Never forget how much God loves you and that he always has a plan for you. Grab hold of his hand and hang on.
I see and maintain it still is not fair,
I have nothing to lay at the top of the stair.
It’s not my fault, I did nothing wrong,
Well, maybe I did, it’s just been so long.
How long has it been since I climbed to the top,
I remember its relief, why did I stop?
How can a symbol of such astounding grief,
Be given to us to bring us this relief?
With love so amazing, to the cross did He die,
To flood us with gratitude that still makes us cry.
The burdens we carry don’t always seem fair,
Always we can lay them at the top of the stair.
The first step looks brittle, can it carry my weight?
This burden is heavy and may seal my fate.
As I touch each step and climb ever higher,
Is this what I should do, is this really my desire?
As I clear the last step, the cross is before me,
I question my worth, did He also die for me?
As my knees get bent, I’m smothered by His grace,
And I lay all my burdens at the accepting cross base.
Probably the reason I push kindness like I do is because I fully understand its benefits, it value and how easily it can spread. besides it is one of the fruits of the spirit. So I remind you as always the utmost value of kindness. Please be kind.
It took us by surprise, no one expected this sight
The winds began to blow as they roared down the plain
Tearing everything up it touch, like a runaway freight train
Those along the coast know how hurricanes can be
But here in the midwest, its tornadoes we usually see
The width of the destruction on an in-land hurricane
Makes our widest tornado look like a minor pain
A reminder to us all, no matter where we live
Mother Nature is a force, her respect we must give.
When you get slapped in the face by something you can’t describe or understand, you write about it to help ease the pain. I was a very fortunate being through this fiasco but I have many friends who were not as fortunate. Some paid with their lives.
There are still areas without power, and cleanup will be for months. Some of these trees were decades if not over 100s of years old. Two other picture I wanted to include but it didn’t fit in the poem was one house was hit by an airplane wing that had been ripped off of a plane and sent flying. The other one was where a house was destroyed and a beam from it was sent through a house across the street.
If you are a prayerful person, please send this part of the US your prayers. Much loss of homes, business and the farming industry was crushed. And I don’t even want to talk about the wild animals that were killed and displaced.
If you care to see further pictures, they are all over the internet. Look for Iowa 2020 Derecho.
It is hard for me to close as I always do, but now more than ever, this world needs to see, feel and receive as much kindness as we can share with each other. There are lots of storms facing all of us all over this world. Please always be kind.