Today’s Treasure

Yesterday morning, I strolled my back garden to greet every plant, gaze at every flower, & anticipate every bud.  There were two open blossoms on my poppy plant when I began mowing the grass & four by the time I finished mowing 45 minutes later.  That quickly, buds with potential became fully formed flowers, petals open to embrace the sunlight & warm breeze.

Opening to greet the new day!

Nature is my all-time favorite teacher, gently reminding me of the impermanence of everything.  “Be present”, She whispers, “Immerse your Self fully in each precious moment.  And know that if you are going through a challenging time, it will pass.  Change, as you know my Dear, is inevitable.”

So, this morning, I began the day with a mindful walk through the garden, savoring what IS & grateful that I’m right HERE, right NOW.  I can’t mourn yesterday’s spent blossoms because my tears would blind me to today’s magnificent beauty.

Yesterday’s blooms

Today’s new opportunity

Tomorrow’s promise

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My Garden; My Retreat

Last weekend, we went to Landis Valley’s Herb & Garden Faire & the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.  I was STARVING for a deeper connection to nature as life has been pretty hectic lately.  It was a great day for a festival with temperatures in the 60s, a blue sky, & fluffy clouds rolling by lazily.  My eyes danced as I took in all the heirloom vegetables, fragrant herbs, native perennials, homemade soap, organic dog biscuits, & gourd birdhouses. Every year, I accept the fact that my wallet is full when I arrive & it will be empty when I leave.  This year was no different; we bought over 50 plants, 3 birdhouses, & a gorgeous wrought iron garden hose holder!

I spent two days on my hands & knees in the dirt with these little plants.  Some will nourish us.  Some will nourish the birds & bees.  And still others will attract butterflies & hummingbirds.  I truly want to make my yard a safe haven for wildlife as well as a peaceful sanctuary for those I love.

Can you tell that I LOVE gardening?

My handy tools have served me well for years.

I welcome new friends into my flowerbeds.

When I bought this house, there was only one small tree & a forsythia bush.  Because I spent a year & a half in England, completely falling in love with cottage gardens, I wanted to replicate that slightly wild, overgrown look here.

The garden has come a long way in 7 years.

This is my back garden today. Doesn’t a picnic lunch outside sound wonderful?

My garden is my retreat.  The 2nd highest compliment given to me is a friend saying, “I love it here.  It’s so peaceful.”  The highest compliment I receive is from Mother Nature– who blesses this space with the return of earthworms, monarch butterflies, centipedes, praying mantis, bunnies, bees, & birds.  I didn’t see a single worm when I began gardening here 7 years ago so turning over a shovel full of dirt to reveal an underground community of critters makes my heart sing.

Whatever I have given back to the earth, She has returned to me tenfold. 

Mothers’ Peace Day

How did I get to be this old not knowing the origin of Mothers’ Day?  Is there any chance that we can read this Proclamation written by Julia Ward Howe in 1870 & bring more meaning to the holiday?  Sure, everyone enjoys the cards & gifts but wouldn’t the greatest gift of all be peace?   Happy Mothers’ Day to all!

 

Mother’s Day Proclamation
by Julia Ward Howe*, 1870

The First Mother’s Day proclaimed in 1870 by Julia Ward Howe
was a passionate demand for disarmament and peace.

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or tears!

Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have taught them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of the devastated earth, a voice goes up with our own. It says, “Disarm, Disarm!”

The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail & commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesars but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.

All in Good Time

Let’s face it.  We can’t rush a good thing.  Whether we want a committed relationship, a more fulfilling  job, or a finished art piece, everything takes time.  I can think back on the situations where I tried to force things to happen in “my time” & most turned out poorly.  When I breath deeply & trust, things tend to work out better.  It’s a lesson that I’ve had to learn over & over again 🙂

Pele, my latest collage, is an example of patience paying off.  Months ago, I shared this image of Pele coming to life from the initial sketch in my small spiral sketchpad to the partially finished canvas (on the right)…

The work that led up to my Pele collage.

Some of you might remember it.  Since then, the unfinished canvas sat on the easel in silence.  Ideas for completing it just wouldn’t come to me.  So, I waited… and waited… and waited.  I passed this goddess every time I put the dogs in the backyard or walked through my kitchen.  There she’d be, waiting, too.

Pele, the Hawaiian goddess, fires us with passion– inspiring us to try new things, dream new dreams, imagine what was once unimaginable.  She IS creation.  And yes, she is ALSO destruction.   We cannot have one without the other.  Pele’s lava can burn through a tropical forest and across a highway, destroying everything in its path.  Pele can also create new land where her lava meets the sea.  I personally saw small plants growing from cracks in the lava when I visited the Big Island years ago.  Destruction & creation are two sides of the same coin.

Pele erupts on the canvas.

This past weekend, she finally broke her silence.  She told me the colors & patterns that would complete her.  I’m glad I didn’t rush the process.  The results are better than what I imagined all those weeks ago.  Wait for what’s right for you.  And always give your best.

Inspiration Everywhere

Though I had no time to create any new artwork of my own this past week, I took down the old & display the new inspirational objects that I’ve been collecting lately.  Like a little kid displaying their school work proudly on the refrigerator, I display items that inspire me in one way or another.

Postcards, magnets, & photos are displayed where I can see them every day. I soak up the inspiration.

Just about anything can stimulate my imagination.  The two large bulletin boards I have hanging in my studio hold items whose patterns, colors, & textures fill me with new ideas.  Look closely & see what kinds of items you can pick out.  Do you see the tiny piece of tracing paper in the shape of a leaf?  It has the words “I love you” written on it.  My niece left countless notes of “I love you” all over my house at the end of her last visit.  They gave me happy tears for days as I found her hidden messages (even in my clothes hamper!).  I highly recommend leaving love notes around the house for someone you care about.  What a wonderful feeling they bring!

Everything from handmade paper ribbon to a decorative paper plate can stimulate my imagination.

This board displays a variety of items including inspiring notes from friends who encourage my creativity.

If you’ve been keeping up with my post, by now you know that there is nothing more inspirational for me than nature.  However, I also find surprisingly stimulating objects just about anywhere I go.  Next time you shop at a store near you, approach it with a child’s eyes.  Look around with wonder at what is displayed.  Something is bound to give you that sparkly, shimmery “This makes me want to create something new” feeling.

Do you have a place to display items that motivate or inspire you?