A unfurling hosta ('Fried Bananas') growing through a hole in an old dried-up leaf.  


Bend, Bow, Bloom

Secrets to a 'sucessful' life are strewn around the garden like unfound Easter eggs, 
waiting for someone to point, squint and nod.
Consider the poppy with me as we stroll along, coffee mugs in hand.
What an odd posture for a spring flower! It is completely unlike its compadres which 
produce blooms that shoot almost frantically from the still chilly earth, 
stretching to point straight at guilty sun. 
The poppy bloom appears quietly, amid furry foliage at the end of a silky stem, 
then immediately bends to bow in the most discreet and humble way. 
And it stays bowed  until the time is right to shed its sepals and SHINE.




(and only in that order)


The Seed Habit

I didn't think I'd plant seeds this spring. It seems like this middle-of-life transition has 
left me eager to discard old traditions, shaking them out of my life like dust from a cleaning cloth. Things I've ALWAYS done are coming into question, and old patterns are under close examination. 
I had already decided to forgo planting seeds 
this year, and I've been determinedly avoiding eye contact with all seed packets.
'Don't look at them and they won't look at you,' have you ever spouted that bit of  parental wisdom?
And then one day at Lowe's all was lost when I noticed (again) ... 

... nasturtium have the most unusual ROUND leaves!
It's a little bit other-worldly, I think. And I'm not the only one.
(Nerd Fact - check the ending scene in Return of the King - Sam's gate garden)
I've NEVER been able to sprout these seeds, but I'm giving it another try.
On an outing last fall, I saw a healthy vine and exclaimed over the 
wonderful-ness of all things nasturtium,
while lamenting my failure to grow my own.
My companion pal eyed me askance.
"ANYone can grow those, Suz!"

What would spring be without growing MAMMOTH sunflowers again? Will it work this year?
Will the positioning of the seed change the speed of seed germination?
Point UP or point DOWN?

I'm planting seed saved from the single egg gourd that made it to maturity last year.
I ask you - - - what could be more fascinating than egg-shaped gourds?



Last week's garden renderings - 
Beautiful for one day, and that's about it.
Poppies don't like being cut, frail fripperies that they are.
And snowballs are just messy, dropping petals and other bits.
The iris kept their pastel heads high and saved the day, still nice long after the poppies 
and the snowballs had crowded the kitchen garbage can.



Once established, 
 oriental poppies seem to be
Quirky and crepe-papery, they fairly glow in the early morning sunshine. 
Spring seems especially sweet this year.



Do you have words to live by?  
Repeating phrases that ring in your ears as well as your spirit?
I do. 
Scripture passages bubble up and roll through me; they drag me back from the cliff's edge with a 
firm grip on my sweaty waistband and shove me in the right direction again.
Chronic illness has been part of my life since my early twenties when rheumatoid arthritis made itself known in my body. Back then, I searched the scriptures to try to gain an understanding of what was happening. This story of compassion hit me like a ton of bricks and sank like the same, deep down into my heart. Now, as a five year remission seems to be winding to an end,  I continue to find hope on that very page, and still find myself stretching out my hand to my Savior on the more painful days. 
And sometimes, I hop and wave a little frantically, too.

Side Note: 
In elementary school, I was part of a gaggle of girls who often congregated for sleepovers, almost always at the same small house set far back on a hilltop. After eating nearly everything in the kitchen, roaring around the neighborhood, and endless rounds of truth or dare on the front porch, we all bedded down on the family room floor in the basement. In the parent-imposed darkness, secrets stole from our lips and floated like mist just above our wide-awake faces. One night, our classmate-hostess disobediently shared a confidence her mother had instructed her to keep strictly 'in the family'. She sat up in the dark and whispered the secret: during her prayer for salvation, her mother felt a strong and firm hand slip downward into her own upraised one. All of us were stunned into silent consideration of this amazing occurrence. Had Jesus actually clasped hands with this entirely ordinary, mother-shaped person?  During breakfast, although warned against it, one of us blurted the question onto the formica table. After scolding her daughter with an intense sideways squint, she confirmed the story, but refused to add further details,  for which we begged. 
When I consider  potency of that childhood story and the recurring theme of Stretch Out Your Hand in my life, I'm left to wonder how these pieces fit together. . .

A verse first spoken to my husband and me when we were having troubles with teens.  To  this weepy mom, it was startling, but very few pieces of parenting advice have been as useful as this one. My hope cannot rest in home schooling, in seminars or programs. My trust for their well-being cannot be rightly placed in bold mentors or godly coaches. While those may be desirable, they cannot bear up under the horrific weight of my TRUST. These sons have been given to us to raise, but they are the Lord's alone. He is writing their story. 
Our trust can only find its proper resting place in the strong name of the Lord God.

My most recent addition. I'm still sorting out what 'higher' can mean, but this keeps 
battering on the door of my heart.  
It gives me much to ponder as I prune dead hydrangea canes.

What are your repeating verses? 
Does His word prompt and point you? 

I'd love to hear about that.


Give In To Wonder

What could be more lovely and ethereal than a floating lamp? 
But then, something about sending fire into the air to roam free left me chewing one nail.
At the same time, I wanted to clap with glee and maybe even give a mascot cheer.
Something must be really wrong with me - I could watch that over and over again!
The Pirate! That Bee!
I think the PARENT persona battles the CHILD within, do you? 
I certainly hope you are still aware of your child self - 
the part of you quick to gasp in wonder or excitement? 
that bit inside that leaps forward when ice cream is available? 
that overwhelming impulse to fling something...   

A long time ago around a campfire, I saw a  mostly grown person leap to her feet and dance with complete abandon. Sparked by the fast-paced worship music, she circled the fire, singing and dancing, waving her arms, and laughing aloud. In that moment, her joy and freedom, expressed without any trace of dignity or reserve, deeply moved me.  A few of the younger people in the group jumped up to join, but I remained rooted to my log seat,  filled with admiration and denied longing. 

While lighting Chinese lanterns this weekend, I read the directions aloud with extra emphasis and cautioned all involved (with my best parental voice)  about proper use of the lighter. But as the lantern filled and tugged itself from our fingertips to float through the dusk and hover just over the apple trees ... I gave in to wonder. 

A little clapping and cheering never hurt anybody!