T G I S

Thank God it’s Saturday.

It’s been a l o n g week and wow—is it ever great to have 24 hours of unstructured time . . . There’s still going to be a list of to-do s involved but they’ll get done when they get done. There’s going to be some fresh air and some good food, some anticipated reading and well earned resting. A little tending to the garden too.

But it all starts here and now with my cuppa Joe and a meditative heart. In a space of quiet and calm; chaos free. Worry free. There’s time for that biz but not today, not at this moment. I’m so thankful for my work, for the roof over my head, for my family and friends.

Whatever you do in your next twenty-four hours, no matter what’s on your plate and who needs you and all that you are,

have a good day no matter what.

No matter what.

Peace out . . .

Just Couldn’t Capture

Just Couldn’t Capture

My first Farm Share box

from @EcologyCenter in San Juan Capistrano – I signed up for my farm share of fresh organic produce on Earth Day – what an awesome celebration that was with handcrafted pizzas served steaming hot from an outdoor Cobb oven, live music with nothing but good vibes, small children running willie nillie among the crowd with partially squished strawberries in their tiny fists and ruby red berry juice dripping from their mouths. Lots of contented people just soaking up a vibe that was reminiscent of very good day from the 1960s.

It had been a busy Thursday at the University. Still in heels and my suit from work I and a friend picked up my farm box from the barn on the farm property. Too tired to thoughtfully put away the generous amount of strawberries, lettuces, oranges, spring onions, etcetera, at least the three heads of beautiful organic lettuce went into a large tin bowl full of water for an overnight refresh. I tried unsuccessfully to photograph what greeted me in the morning light. The arugula stood at attention with its peppery and spiky leaves surrounded by a cloud of ruffled crimson. I tried to capture their simple yet outstanding beauty but couldn’t even begin to do them the least bit of photographic justice compared to what my eyes were seeing there in that large tin bowl.

Try as we may we can’t always capture the beauty of a moment. The way it makes your heart sing, the way your mind is lifted by the sound of children laughing or a guitar gently strumming or the fragrance of a handful of sweet peas. Thank God for the blessed ability to take in the moment and savor it. The fleeting moments transform into memories that will become all the more cherished as time goes by. Enjoy the moments of today—we’re creating a full and rich library of memories for a whole lifetime of tomorrows.

Hand Me Downs

If you grew up in a family with siblings chances are that at some point you were dressed in hand-me-downs. Re-purposing perfectly good clothing outgrown by a sibling, cousin, or neighbor even, is a cost-efficient and time-honored method of frugally clothing a young and growing family.

But what if, well past our years of having parentals dress us, we’re still wearing garments that someone else chose for us and dressed us in? And ill fitting garments at that. Not that they’re unattractive or cumbersome but they don’t fit who we are now. Maybe the color just isn’t us. Maybe the cut is wrong for our body type. Maybe the sleeves are too short and we feel that our forearms are exposed more than we care for. Perhaps too tight across the back and shoulders so when we reach out for someone or something we’re restricted. What an uncomfortable experience for the wearer!

What might be restricting you from embracing the fullness of relationship, joy, the good and simple things in life? It’s probably time for a new wardrobe but we’ve got to take off the old before we can get into the new. Who goes into a dressing room and tries on a swimsuit on top of a pair of jeans and a hoodie?

That’s why we do the changing in private. And when we feel we’ve found a good fit we step out of that dressing room and get on with it. Resizing. Revising.

It may be all that’s holding you back.

Back to Life

The season of new life.

I thought these few sprigs of lavender sent to me from California’s Central Coast were goners. But a fresh trim of their stems and some fresh water to drink (plus a tiny splash of a secret ingredient) made a world of difference. Miracle Gro performed a miracle indeed!

Is there a hope or dream in your life that seems to have died? You may have wished for that thing to come to pass but it didn’t work out and sadly so. Things change. People change. Timing should be right but it isn’t. Our hopes are high and then they wilt and wither when we least expect it. But don’t give up hope. Dead things do come back to life and hope never truly dies. Miracles still happen.

It’s springtime—the season for new life, new hopes, and new dreams to blossom. Shake off the heavy hearted disappointments of a winter that has passed and get to living again! Up from the grave He arose. So can we. So we shall if we grab hold of a fresh new hope and get to living.

A Rose by Any Other Name

As pretty as a bridal bouquet.

Gathered from the garden of a kind neighbor each one that made the “final cut” was chosen from its own rose bush of origin—all seven of them plus a velvety succulent for good measure. How they compliment each other when placed side by side!

The dark rose is my favorite though not visible from this angle. She appears in somber solitude and seems to prefer to stand alone. But, by the estimation of an all-knowing Gardener, is best appreciated when arranged next to a sunny yellow companion and even such an unlikely partner as the succulent. The contrast itself reveals unique qualities otherwise unregarded.

Life spent in the community of others is often the most fragrant. We can grow our entire lives connected to those who are most like us, to family, to our kin, our own kind. But how lucky are we, despite the occasional prick of a thorn, who choose to plant ourselves in a community of variety and rich diversity. Different colorations and varying fragrances; thorn sharpness, even distinctively unique supporting green leaves.

When gathered together they form a bouquet of greater beauty and fragrance than one blossom could ever attain on its own.

Diamond in the Rough

In Disney’s Aladdin an ominous voice, coming from the Cave of Wonders, commands in a raspy roar “Seek ye out the diamond in the rough.” A whole lot of colorful animation and a whole lot of colorful Robin Williams comedic genius later and we discover that the prized and sought-after diamond in the rough is Aladdin the self proclaimed street rat. The local kid who is poor enough to steal bread for his supper and yet charming enough to steal the heart of the beautiful Princess Jasmine.

Let’s just cut to it quickly; You, my friend, are a diamond in the rough. Life, in its many circumstances of ups and downs, is putting pressure on you that creates toughness and resilience. Good times are the polishings that make you shine. Others see it. Sometimes you don’t. You may be the only one that “don’t.” You may be looking in the wrong mirror if all you’re seeing is a reflection that disappoints. You may never see it but you have to believe it any way and behave, while truly believing, like one who is highly valued, strong, brilliant, and light reflecting. This isn’t to say that you haven’t “been through it” or are, right now, “in it.” That gives you the ability to understand and to lift up others who are in it.

Shine bright like a diamond? No, shine bright because you are one.

Then Bursting Forth!

Easter daffodils from my neighbor.

A kind gesture to acknowledge our twenty-two years of shared proximity and also of friendship. I don’t recall ever noticing that this particular flower has such a delicate fragrance. Can you imagine what an entire field of them must smell like? Heavenly I suppose.

Wordsworth wrote the following description in 1804 upon discovering a large bank of dancing daffodils:

“I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”

This gift of a small bunch of golden beauties had been set in a vase at my doorstep—petals unopened as if in anticipation of a great event. To awaken this morning to their ruffled regalia and fragrant voice was as if they themselves had risen on this glorious Easter morning. A beautiful symbol of a life altering event in heaven above and earth below. He is risen. He is risen indeed.

Blessed Easter wherever you are!

They Hung Their Heads

Fresh lavender from the Central Coast of California.

There were lilacs and Easter candy that arrived in the same box that had fared much better than these. And then there was the fragrance that filled the room as I opened the package sent by some who loves me and knows just what I love as well.

The box of treasures contained an organic herbal blend of tea, a fresh new tea towel, an antique floral printed saucer that had been somehow separated from its matching cup, and a grapefruit scented candle in a little tin. Then there were these sad little fellas who didn’t make the journey quite so well.

They seemed like a fitting representation of the mourning hearts of those who’d put their hopes in a new-coming King. One they’d been praying for. One who would deliver them from the iron fist of the Roman occupation. But sadly it didn’t end that way.

Many hung their heads as their hopes for a new day died. Literally died.

But . . . it didn’t end that way. And it truly does seem to be the darkest just before the dawn.

All for You

When they came to a place called Golgotha, which means Place of a Skull, they offered Him wine mixed with gall (myrrh, a bitter-tasting narcotic) to drink; but after tasting it, He refused to drink it.

And when they had crucified Him, they divided His clothes among them by casting lots. Then sitting down there, they began to keep watch over Him [to guard against any rescue attempt]. And above His head they put the accusation against Him which read, “ THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

Matthew 27:34-37

New Purpose

Orange peels soaking up some Southern California sun.

After most of their moisture has been evaporated they’ll be placed into a glass canning jar with a rosemary sprig or two and then left for a couple of weeks to bathe in white vinegar in the back of the cupboard. The result will be an orangey scented surface cleaner with disinfectant properties.

I just love that the throwaway peels of the fruit I already enjoyed will serve a new purpose. They’ll have imparted their fragrance, their very essence, into an astringent agent and in doing so will have elevated a common ingredient into something special.

From a blossom to a full fruit to a peel to a lingering fragrance . . . There’s meaning and purpose in every phase. Orange blossoms were once a popular addition to be tucked into bridal bouquets. Never having reached their full potential or natural destiny, the tiny, deeply fragrant blossoms were suddenly elevated to a position of a great honor and carried ceremoniously by a beautiful young bride.

Life can carry on being so very normal and predictable then in the briefest of moments can take us in an unexpected direction or an unanticipated level or purpose. Enjoy your journey, little blossom. Those around you will be lifted by your fragrance and your unique purpose along life’s way.