Grow Baby Grow

I have had some of these plants for over 20 years. Some of them are potted, that I have transported, move after move. Some I have planted and dug up, over and over, as I have moved here and there across Georgia and then to Texas. I have carried them in cars, trucks, boxes, paper wet paper towels, pots, and by hand, one by leafy one. They have traveled over state lines, county roads, cite streets, and private driveways. And some are even being kept, watered and loved by friends until I can bring them back home. I have dug them up, repotted and transplanted more times than i can count.

But they all have significance because they were given to my by my mother. And I will always carry them with me, no matter how far. I obsess over them a little, because they were hers and have been passed to me. Some she gave me herself, handing them to me when I first moved out of the house. She said i needed some plants to keep and warm up the place. And some were taken from her greenhouse after she passed away, the ones that had not already died from neglect when she was so sick and could not take care of them.

And some were taken out of her many gardens, after I saw that the yard man was mowing over everything because they were too much to take care of. So I went through her gardens, on my hands and knees, and dug up as many bulbs as I could to save them. I planted them all, they grew, then i gave them away to family, as they loved her and her flowers too. And now there are many more flowers, in gardens of those she loved, across Georgia and Florida.

All total I used to have over 50 house plants, and about 130 of her bulbs. And now, after the move to Texas, I have about 8 houseplants and 12 bulbs. I had to give many away, to family and a few friends, or it would have taken another semi to move everything.

And so it is a bit of a celebration when any of them bloom. My heart smiles as I inspect the delicate blooms and tender leaves. I make sure to water and keep just the right amount of sun. It takes work, but it is worth it.

So imagine my delight when I stepped outside this morning for my regular cup of coffee…to see three wonderful plants she gave me blooming? Her favorite daylilies, which I thought the freeze had killed, the Christmas cactus she gave me many years ago, and the pineapple plant that has never produced fruit in 7 years finally has one coming in.

And I smile. Because it is as if she knows that I am happy here. It is as if she knows this is where new roots are growing. That this place, with these people, are where my home is now. And she is smiling at me. Each flower that blooms feels like a little hug from her, as she reaches down from the sunshine to touch my face and warm my heart.

Life is short. Plant the garden, nurture it and enjoy what comes to fruition. because a garden, just like everything in life, requires love and care and work. But it is s=oh so worth it. For the memories you create and the love that you keep. And so I look at the flowers, and my life and whisper “Grow baby, grow.”

The Slow Morning

How you start your day has a huge impact on how the day goes, how you feel and your attitude. When I was still going into an office, mornings were often rushed to get up, get ready and get out the door, followed by at least on hour in traffic and finally getting to work. Not a great way to start the day, but the “normal” way it happened for many. One of the great things about the the pandemic, is that many are working remotely and are not so rushed in the morning. at least that is how it is here.

While I blog about taking a rest in my home life and chores, I still have to work hard at my job. And what I have noticed is that now that my mornings are not so rushed, so hectic and I am not dealing with such traffic and subsequent road irritation, that working has been more efficient.

And so, I start my mornings with purpose. I always have, but it is even more so now. I want to do the best I can, be the best person I can be. And so I start the morning more slow than I used to. I start my being grateful for all the blessings that I have been given – a wonderful home, a loving family, a fulfilling relationship with a considerate and kind partner, a career that I love and friendships that make my heart happy. Yes it is a full life indeed.

And people think that getting this kind of life, and keeping it is easy. But there is a decision that you must make every single morning – too be happy and appreciate all that is given to you, and all that is brought to fruition from the hard work you have done. A good friend talks about the benefit of slow living, meaning slowing down enough to appreciate all the little wonderful moments. And this is how I start my morning.

I love on my kitties, give them treats, make delicious coffee and go outside to appreciate the morning. And in those moments, I notice the temperature, the clouds in the sky, the beautiful sunrise and the sounds of the birds. Sound corny? It’s not. Because it infuses into the day a deep appreciation for the beauty and peace around you. Then I’ll water the flowers and vegetables in the gardens, and read headlines or a few stories, check and answer messages. Maybe I’ll empty the dishwasher, or put a load of laundry in the wash. And then it is time to work, after a slow start to the wonderful morning.

Take time to start the day and notice, appreciate what is in front of you, it sets up how you move and the way you move through out the rest of the day. It sets up intention and purpose. And it doesn’t take that long, but the benefits are felt long afterward. And way not? What is the alternative?

Why wouldn’t someone want to to start their day in a better mood and pleasant from of mind? Well, some people are quite fond of their bad mood and ungrateful heart. It is easier to complain about life and everything that is wrong when you feed that part of it. Don’t worry about those people, they have a problem for every solution and will find a negative answer to every suggestion you make.

Life is short, and you can spend it in appreciation, or in negativity. That is not to say we don’t all have a bad day, or week, and even year and that is exactly the time we need to appreciate those moments even more. It can make a bad day better and a good day great. So why not? Take a slow start to the day and see how things change for the better.

Happy Cultivation

It seems that there is always a To Do list with too many things on it to ever accomplish. And even when we thing we have completed that list, it magically seems to get longer, with new tasks added while we weren’t looking. But isn;t that the case with having a full life?

And that is where and when we need to be wise and know when to dig in and work hard, and when to take a break, and just rest. Indeed, there is nothing wrong with resting when you need it. There is nothing wrong with self care and convalescing. I would dare to argue that it is a necessity these days.

And that is exactly what I have been doing, even as the to do list grows. The kitchen needs to be cleaned, vacuuming needs to be done, more flowers and vegetables need to be planted. But that will all be there when I return. The tasks are not going anywhere. After having oral surgery , then the Vaccine, I am pooped!

So I have been enjoying naps while wrapped up in a warm blanket. I have enjoyed slow movies and hot chocolate or tea. And eating an extra cookie, won’t kill the waistline and is good for the soul. Long showers and cool nights with fluffy pillows and soft beds.

In this day and age of rushing to get everything done faster, and having it all, is it possible to have a break? Yes, indeed it is. Sometimes that is exactly what it needed. Time to rest, relax, take a breath and sit down. Be still. And just Be. Resting and taking care of yourself is not being lazy. It is doing what you n=must to keep yourself in good health. We were not meant to be constantly simulated with the internet, TV, sounds and things. We were meant to have quiet times for our minds and rhythms to reset.

And when we return, from out break, we are refreshed and excited. It is easier to check things off the to do list, slow and steady, than tp sprint getting it all done. And no better investment can m=be made that=n to and in ourselves.

Life is short. Don’t rush through it, trying to get everything done at once. Take some time, take a breath, take all the moments you need, so sit back and enjoy even the smallest of times. You’ll be thankful you did.

The Time of Confession

It is a journey that I started several months ago. A personal journey that has been quite amazing so far. I made the decision to convert to Catholicism after finding a brochure about the topic in my parents church papers and documents. It was something they were considering as well, though they had never mentioned it to me.

And so I started learning the history, the meanings and the customs. My old denomination is very close, so there are many customs that are already familiar. But during this time in my life, the Catholic Church feels more like home to me. Matching closer with my own beliefs and values. They do not change by the modern day social moors, but rather stand steady in the deep and rich history.

And it is the history that I have enjoyed learning the most. One on one meetings with the priest, discussing the history lessons he assigned in the last meeting. Discussing the meaning, significance, and lessons to be learned. There is a big difference in studying the history of the Bible and the church as a child versus as an adult. When you are a child you do not recognize the significance of the miracle or the events really. You simply do not have the life knowledge to understand the implications. As an adult, I not only appreciate it, but am fascinated. From a historical standpoint, the bible, how it was put together, who wrote it and made those decisions, it is quite an amazing story.

And one of the most meaningful things in the conversation process is the First Confession. And so I did the exercise, the examination of Conscience, and wrote down everything that I was told, all that was asked and examined my life in a way that I had not before. The result was many pages and quite a few to discuss with the priest. And at first the thought of admitting my worst self to another human was terrifying. And then you realize that it hasn’t killed anyone, and of they can do it, and survive the vulnerability of it, then I can too. And so I did.

And so I poured out my heart and soul, crying as it all came out. I confessed things for which I did not even know I needed forgiveness until that very moment. And it was divine it its completion.

And there is a beauty in it, in confessing your worst. and vulnerability. The confessor is vulnerable because they risk being judged. And the priest to whom you confess is also vulnerable, because they hold the trust of the confessor, and must recognize the humanity of judgement and opinions. The priest must exercise Mercy, forgiveness, teaching and contrition. So the Confessor and the priest, together, repairing the bonds of faith and reconciliation.

And at the end, when the priest granted the Forgiveness of the confessions, and gave the task of contrition, it was done. And a weight lifted. Because in that forgiveness was Peace. And Mercy. And letting go of all that had bothered me, because it was not in existence any more.

And I would not have believed saying it to another human, in the safety of a box, of a space so sacred that is can bare the worst in all of us, but I felt it myself. And the totality of it was almost incomprehensible, but could be felt down to my bones, through the heart, bending around the mind, straight to the soul. And in that moment of utter forgiveness and Grace, his Grace flowed through me and I was able to also forgive those that had done wrong by me. After all, if it is granted to me, should it not be given?

Life is short. And we all should do the best we can, when we can. But when we fall short, as we humans often do, it is truly amazing to know that with sincerity and faith, all things done can be mended.

Busy Days

The days are busy with lots to do from early morning till late at night. Editing, writing, doing work, interviewing, planning and getting things done. There is research and calls and conversations and reading. There is getting the garden planted, working in the dirt and soil, making sure all is perfect for little seedlings to grow to the sun.

And there is being tired, in the best way, know when the lights turn out that much has been accomplished.

And there is worry, after getting the J&J vaccine, after the announcement of it being paused due to clots and strokes and issues. There is one in a million chance, waiting for the next two weeks to see. Theoretically it should be fine. One in a million.

It have heard it said many times that every decision we make is based in either fear or love. And that what we do, and the way we do it, it based in either fear or love. So I have a decision – to live in either fear or love. I can do nothing about the vaccine that is now in my body, working it’s way through my immune system.

And so I say a prayer every night before sleep, and am thankful every day when I wake. I will live chose love not fear. And I will throw myself into this life, and make sure that I am doing as much as I can the best that I can. Because at the end of the that’s all most of us are trying to do.

Fear and worry strip us of the very moments that we wont to enjoy and remember. Fear makes it impossible to enjoy those around us. But faith and love? The possibilities for enjoyment are exponential.

Life is short. Don’t worry so much, because it all works out in the end.

Initiate Initiative

Initiative is defined as at starting at one’s own discretionindependently of outside influence or control. Basically it means that you have the drive to get up and do something on your own, you strive for something and you do it without being told. It is a word I think is losing it’s meaning in todays world of “Gimme, gimme because you owe me.”

Taking initiative is hard, so more and more people don’t do it. But many do and you can tell. They show up and don’t give out. We see it in business owners who get up over single day and open the doors of their business. We see in other s who go to class every morning to get their degree, and we see it in those who strive every day to be better, do better and improve what ever situation they are in. And you can also tell those who don’t. It takes initiative to do anything, accomplish anything or be anything in this world.

And whether it is getting up to fold laundry, or working out, or planting a garden, it takes time, intention and hard work. I saw a short video they other day where a sports person was talking about getting up and training every day, to make sure he was the strongest athlete he could be. He said it was hard, especially that morning, when he got up at 6am to run, when he could have stayed in bed. He sad it was hard when his friends where telling him to stay home, and play video games all day, because he could run and work out tomorrow. And then he said something that stuck – in 20 years, that friend will still be playing video games on his couch – meanwhile the sports person will be winning awards. Because he took the initiative and hard the drive.

That sums it up. You have to be willing to work at changing your circumstance, every day. ou have to get up, every day, and decide that your will work towards that goal, that you will do the work and whatever it takes, to get where you want to be. That would be a different career, it could be a sport, it could be to just be happy, or whatever. But be dedicated to that decision. Do the hard work. Take the time and have the dedication to stick worth it.

Life is short, and hard. But the work is worth the reward. Every. Single. Second of it. So make it count. Don’t settle for a life you don’t want because it would be hard to change it. Work hard, play hard, dream hard, love hard. And make this life what you want it.