White Flowers for those we Loved and Lost

White flowers have many meanings. Purity, innocence, reverence and bereavement.

People are suffering. They are angry, sad and hopeless. I grew up hearing, this too shall pass. Of course my response was, when? The unending reports of coronavirus have worn me out, and I’m sure I’m not alone. Now we have the tragic death of George Floyd. When will it end?

I have been included in a discussion of the latest tragic events and I must say I feel like I’m a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. I believe all the deaths and injuries that have resulted from the actions of a police officer (and those who watched) are to be mourned. We all saw what occurred, and we all were outraged. I have been surprised to hear that people don’t feel the loss of a police officer’s life is as tragic as the loss of George Floyd. Why? Aren’t we all created by God and loved the same? Isn’t every life precious in the eyes of God?

I will always remember one episode of Little House on the Prairie. Mrs. Olson, an opinionated woman, was walking with a little blind boy who was African American and an orphan. She told him people wouldn’t want to adopt him because he was black. He questioned what that meant and she tried to explain skin color which of course was lost on a blind child. I remember he said, but I don’t see color. I only see darkness. Why do we continue to see color? People should be just as outraged if George Floyd had been white. Color should not matter.

I was at Ohio State in the 1960’s and experienced the tear gas and the demonstrations. I had hoped that was all behind us. Voices were heard and laws were passed to address inequities, but laws don’t change people’s hearts. I weep for Mr. Floyd and for all the other victims of this terrible unrest. I will continue to pray for our leaders and for all those who have suffered. These white bleeding hearts are my tribute to those lost and loved.

Laughter is the Best Medicine!

Laughing burns calories and relieves stress!

Rudolph had a bad case of fleas in our Christmas show last year and his agent Saulie was frantic trying to find a cure. She had lined up several appearances for him. Rudolph was very tall as you can see, and every time he scratched people laughed. He and Saulie brought the house down as the expression goes! I wish people had this to watch again and again.

I’ve written the Christmas show the last four years at my church and my goal has been to write a lot of humor for the show. I want the laughs for many reasons. It relieves stress and Christmas is a stressful time. Laughter boosts our immune system, decreases pain and adds joy to our lives. We need all of that all year round.

I’m working on the show for this year and I keep looking back to what I’ve done in the past. Frosty didn’t want to dance and play with the children because the Buckeyes were on TV. Rudolph’s nose turned brown as a result of a nose spray product he was promoting in a commercial. And then there was Helga the witch who complained to Santa about Rudolph stealing apples from her tree. Just remembering makes me smile!

Laugh, smile, and chuckle are all good words that express happiness. I hope reading this might bring a smile or a happy memory from Christmas. I know remembering has put a smile on my face.

Hippity Hop!

The Easter Bunny Keeps on Hopping!

The egg delivering Easter bunny has been active in the United States since the 1700s. It is believed that German immigrants brought the tradition with them. They called the bunny Osterhase. Children made little nests for the rabbit to lay colored eggs in. It sounds a little crazy, but we have carried on the tradition for centuries. Of course the tradition evolved to Easter baskets and of course egg hunts. My personal favorite is the egg hunt.

I found it interesting that there are other animals that bring eggs besides the bunny. In Switzerland it is the cuckoo. That makes more sense than a rabbit. I also read about an Easter witch in Switzerland who brought chocolate to the children. Witches are scary, but if they bring chocolate they must be okay!

Easter is the most important religious holiday for Christians. Without Jesus’s resurrection, the religion most likely would not have formed. The Easter lily represents that Jesus has risen. It is one of the fragrant spring flowers that bring us reassurance that the winter has ended. Jesus assured us that another kind of darkness had ended. May all of you find joy in Easter wherever you are today, because Jesus is always with us!

Peaceful Place to Reflect

Reading in Solitude

There have been times in my life where I wished I could just escape and become a monk. A monastery where talking was forbidden sounded like a true vacation. Since that was not an option, I turned to books.

I read uplifting books for the most part. My husband calls them Hallmark books. They probably would fit in that category, however, the library calls them inspirational. My little reading angel always reminds me to calm down and find a good book. If there was ever a time people needed to escape to a place of laughter and inspiration it is now. Books provide that.

My Kindle has allowed me to get books from the library which of course is closed. That has been a true gift! I admit I’m old school and like browsing the book shelves of the library, but this works great.

The warm spring days we had brought everyone relief. It’s tough being inside. I don’t have much interest in watching TV. I wonder why we have so many stations when there’s nothing I want to watch. Thank goodness for books! I now have the quiet of a monastery when I read and it’s good. Life will return with its hustle and bustle, but for now, I read, cook , and garden. It’s not all bad.

Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah!

There’s a Bluebird!

I loved Uncle Remus and I sang along with him when he sang Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, there’s a bluebird on my shoulder. Of course we didn’t have any bluebirds, so it was just part of a magical world in my mind. We had blue jays and that was close enough for me. Just for the record, blue jays aren’t as sweet as bluebirds. They used to dive bomb our cat!

I now have bluebirds coming to my feeder and it makes me so happy. The robins also like meal worms. There is one robin who is particularly big who is probably eating much more than his share, but I don’t have the ability to give him the “We need to share” talk.

Being able to go outside makes being restricted to my home bearable. The rain is complicating things, but I’m still getting outside. I’ve pruned and weeded and am eager to do more. We have a couple cardinals that must live close by and they have been singing their hearts out. What a blessing!

Nature continues to provide me with joy and peace. I am so thankful to have a yard. I know there are many who are not as fortunate. For me, nature is the best medicine in avoiding depression. I pray that my readers may find some relief from this time of anxiety by enjoying nature’s gifts. Just opening a window and breathing in fresh air helps. You can also watch Uncle Remus sing Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah on You Tube for a shot of sunshine! I still love hearing him sing that song!

In Like a Lion,Out Like a Lamb!

Roar! It’s almost spring!

This beautiful guy was created for Columbus’s Home and Garden Show. The theme this year was Africa and each landscape company was given a wire animal to make come alive. The Seely Landscape Company were so determined to do this they contacted a taxidermist for eyes in order to obtain the life-like quality. They won best of show for their amazing landscape which included the lion.

The saying In like a lion, out like a lamb is a weather prediction that many of us grew up hearing. This year, March came in like a lamb, sooo we’ll wait to see if we experience a roaring ending. In the past, people believed nature maintained a balance and the month of March is a perfect example. In Ohio, we have both wintry snow and beautiful spring days. My blooming spring flowers always receive a little snow.

We often hear people talk about finding a balance in life. This is usually directed at work and family or work and play. Finding a balance of foods we eat is also a balancing act. Those noodles throw my diet askew. I however wish for imbalance in my life. I desire an imbalance of love and joy! I want an imbalance of sunshine. Those of you who live in Ohio understand this. I don’t care if it’s cold, but I want sun!! I’m happy March is here and my daffodils and tulips are pushing through the soil. I have bluebirds eating at my feeder and today we have sun. I appreciate this imbalance in my life and hope that it continues. I hope March has an imbalance of warm sunny days. I’m done with winter and wearing my winter coat!

Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday?

Last Day to Feast!

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday which is the beginning of forty days of fasting for Christians and perhaps for those who want to end a bad habit. The forty days is because Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness praying.

For many it is Mardi Gras which is the French term for Fat Tuesday. It is also Shrove Tuesday. It was customary for early Christians to ask to be forgiven of their sins or shriven on this day. The Pancake Bell would ring, people would confess their sins and then make pancakes in order to use up all the rich ingredients. During lent, people were not to eat eggs, milk, butter, or meat. People around the world will eat pancakes today in keeping with this custom.

It makes me wonder what people did with the eggs they gathered and the milk that the cows produced during that time. Cows have to be milked twice a day, so they probably made butter and cheese and ate it on Sundays along with eggs. Sundays were exempt from fasting because they were (and still are) considered days of joy in celebration of Jesus’s resurrection.

I always give up sweets and seldom make it the forty days. I have chocolate chip cookies to eat tonight! I plan to make it this year. (I always plan to make it!) I will give up the unhealthy sweets and add more prayer time. A time to grow spiritually is the benefit of lent. Hope you all find a benefit in this lenten season.

Valentine Trees Speak Volumes!

A new idea with lots of potential!

Tired of the flowers, candy, dinner out routine? How about a tree? Of course mine isn’t finished yet. I still have a couple days. My idea is to tape little messages on the ornaments. I read that many of the first valentines were puzzles. They were handmade and the creator probably spent hours thinking on it. I could put clues on the ornaments that leads to a hidden gift. That might be fun. Again, I have a couple days to decide.

The first commercial valentines were made in England in the late 1700s. They were printed or engraved and then colored by hand. In the mid 1800s Esther Howland started a valentine making venture in the top floor of her father’s Massachusetts home. She and her friends made intricate three dimensional valentines and sold them for $5.00 each. They made a nice profit of $100,000 in a single year! They are credited with making the first commercial American valentines.

I like Valentine’s Day because it is a day of love. One doesn’t have to have a sweetheart. I love my family, my friends, nature, good food, my kitties, I could go on. It’s a day to take stock of all the things I love. Of course a little chocolate will make the day extra special and perhaps another house plant would brighten my day. Just a suggestion to my sweetheart.

Winter’s Beauty!

Every season has beauty!

All I saw when I raised the blind was another gray, rainy day. January and February are known for long, gray days in Ohio. My eyes went to the birdfeeder and then this tree. It was beautiful!

I knew I had to get a picture, so I headed outside. I took several shots and then began to explore the yard. I noticed a few green leaves pushing through the dirt, a busy squirrel digging in my flower bed, and two robins hunting for worms. It was great! Mother Nature had given me a dose of her natural medicine.

We have several more weeks of these rainy, gray days but today there is snow on the ground. It brightens the day even with gray clouds. It’s not enough to shovel, but enough to make everything look fresh. I’m grateful.

I enjoy living in a state where I can experience four different seasons. This winter has been mild, and we are all eager to see if that will continue. I don’t want a delayed winter. Please no snow on my hyacinths this year! Today I will walk in the snow and look for other beautiful things nature has waiting to be discovered. Every day has something to rejoice in, and I need to remember that!

Pollyannas Make Us Grateful!

The Glad Game can change anyone’s outlook!

I was talking with a friend who had never seen the movie Pollyanna, but she knew what it meant to be called a Pollyanna. I think if there were more Pollyannas, people would be happier. Think of all the books written about how to be happy. Surrounding oneself with happy people is one of the suggestions.

Pollyanna was written in 1913 by Eleanor H. Porter. It eventually became a board game and a movie. It’s the story of a little girl who went to live with her rich aunt after her missionary parents had died. Her father had taught her the glad game and she taught it to the people of the town.

It’s definitely a feel good movie, which I like. It’s also a lesson in gratitude. Finding something to be glad about when a person is facing great difficulties is a challenge, but there is always something. Maybe it’s just a friend to talk to, which of course is something to really be grateful for!

Pollyanna is a fictitious character, but the story had a tremendous effect on its readers and obviously the entertainment world. I know it had an effect on me.