Wildflowers in the Mail | What Are You Nourishing?

from Kathi

I managed to get to one of Jennifer Belthoff’s Write Together sessions earlier this month. I intended to return to the prompts and write more fully about them. That hasn’t happened yet, but in recent days my response to one of them proved to be a test of discipline and my commitment to myself. 

I am nourishing…

I am nourishing my peace. I am firmly rooted in stillness and shielding myself from the clamor and confusion of a world that can be harsh, mean, violent, and cold. I am finding ways to center myself so that I don’t fall into utter despair over the evil that subtly creeps and settles into the fabric of human hearts.

I am protecting my peace by maintaining barriers against toxic people and toxic culture, by accepting that I am not always right, my way is not the only way, and that others are entitled to being who they are and moving through this world as they wish.

I am seeking pathways to peace in the most disturbing national and international moments. I am staying responsibly informed, but am turning away from and refusing a steady diet of news and social media and feasting on light and beauty instead. 

I am crafting an environment of peace by creating order [internally and externally] and by fueling my soul with the Divine, with poetry, with art, with song.

What are you nourishing? 


About the Image: My Wildflowers friend, Kathi G, sent the card above–a card she says reminds her of me and my “endless vision of creativity.” Aww…thanks, Kathi. The card, sold exclusively for Trader Joe’s, features the work of Laura Graves. You can find more of her art on Instagram or Society6.

Wildflowers in the Mail | Heavenly Spots

from Lisa

Are you okay? Really okay?

The world can be chaotic and exhausting. When we think things can’t get any crazier, they do. When we think we will work together to find solutions for the world’s ills, we create more problems. When we think we can’t get any wearier, there’s always something that proves otherwise.

Sometimes things are a little too much, so we vacillate between a strong desire to set the world on fire and a simple wish to spend our remaining days in our beds contemplating color. It is during these maddening, tiresome moments that we must “find the heavenly spots” and “show [our] neighbors where they are.”

The poem below by Cleo Wade provides a formula for dealing with the world’s ills. She reminds us that we choose our responses, and there’s a whole lot between setting the world on fire and giving up.

“Tired”
Cleo Wade

I was tired of worrying
so I gave myself my peace back
I was tired of feeling intimidated by what I should do
so I pulled up my sleeves
and
got to work on what I could do
I was tired of not knowing
so I found out—about myself, my family, my
ancestors, my government, and the struggles of others
I was tired of seeing evil everywhere
so I found the heavenly spots and showed my
neighbors where they
were
I was tired
of looking at the world as one big mess
so I decided to
start cleaning it up
and when people ask me if I am exhausted
I tell them no
because
more than anything
what I got the most tired of
was being tired


About the Image: This week’s posts will feature postcards from my Wildflowers: Blooming in Community friends. We are a group of women who (mostly) met each other through Love Notes, but who decided to form our own group and continue sending encouraging mail to each other [when Love Notes transitioned from Facebook to another platform]. Our group name comes from “Wildflowers,” a poem by Morgan Harper Nichols. Today’s image features a photo from Lisa C. It was taken at her favorite park, a heavenly retreat from the craziness of the world.

Snail Mail | Floral Notecards and a Weekend Giveaway!

Phyllis Collage

Squeals! An enveloped filled with flowers and cacti! Not actual flowers and cacti! Notecards, of course!

One of my new “flower sisters,” Phyllis R, sent them. When she asked for my address a week or so ago, I thought she was planning to drop a postcard in the mail. I didn’t expect an envelope full of her beautiful photo notecards, so you can imagine my glee!  If you’d like to see the full photos, just click the image above to access the Flickr album. [I even added a card Phyllis sent for Easter].

Remember the last post when I talked about how easy-peasy it is to make postcards from your own tree photos? Well, guess what. It’s that easy to make postcards or notecards from any of your photos. 

Anyway—Phyllis’ package gave me an idea for a weekend giveaway! A snail mail kit! 

I will randomly select someone who comments below and send her/him/them a mini mail kit consisting of a set of notecards, postcards, postage stamps (if in the USA), and a few tuck-ins and/or stickers. My goal is to unload some of my excess stash. Kidding…maybe. 😉 Seriously, I want to encourage you to send more snail mail because personal mail equals connection, and we need connection now more than ever!

Soo…don’t be shy. If you have nothing to say, simply type “snail mail” in the comments section, and you just might be the lucky winner.

The giveaway ends Monday, June 13 at 11:59 p.m. (Central). The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 15. 

Good luck!

NPM | Black and White | Eternity

orchid everything beautiful

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. —Ecclesiastes 3:11

Ecclesiastes 3:11 is one of the most beautiful verses of Scripture to me. On the heels of the popular “To Everything There Is a Season” poem of the first eight verses of Ecclesiastes 3, this verse reminds us that everything serves an ultimate purpose and happens when it should.

I’ve spent many days wrestling with God over the the whys and why nots, so I understand this knowledge is not always comforting, especially when we face horrific circumstances. The last part of the verse acknowledges this limitation of our humanity—our inability to comprehend God’s ways–and gets us off the hook of trying to explain the unfathomable. We need only trust His providence, long-range divine vision, and Sovereignty. 

I find the middle of this Bible verse most potent. God has set eternity in our hearts. This explains our thirst for water from an unearthly well. For we were never meant to have all our yearnings satiated in this life. We were created in the image of God, created to commune with Him “in the garden,” and, therefore, with the innate desire to spend “our always” with Him.  

NPM | Lilies and Abundance

Lilies1

Forgive me for interrupting our week of black and white with the rich color of my lilies. It’s only Wednesday, and I feel like I have been working 100 days straight with no break. Can we say ex-haust-ed?

I wonder how I’m going to get through the next day and a half without collapsing or screaming at everyone who crosses my path. Internally, I am having a tantrum. 

I need a walk. 

I need beauty. 

I need light. 

I can’t squeeze in a walk today, but there’s always time for beauty, especially when it’s just outside my [home] office.

My guys purchased and planted a bunch of lilies for Mother’s Day last year.  I observed as they transitioned from vibrancy to dormancy to…death. I watched in horror as the deep frost of winter decimated the “stick” that remained. They were gone forever. 

Then, just as suddenly, I witnessed their resurrection. 

Over the last few weeks, I watched not one, two, three or even four, but five beautiful plants grow with vigor and blossom with lilies! Five times more than the amount that was planted! 

There is certainly a lesson in there about resilience and revival, about faith and bounty. But the greatest lesson for me is that even in our coldest, darkest moments, there is always just enough hope to usher even the most broken of us into the warmth and light of an abundant life.

Lilies2

National Photography Month | May Flowers | The Iris Challenge

Iris-1 2022

I have had more than half a century of such happiness. A great deal of worry and sorrow, too, but never a worry or a sorrow that was not offset by a purple iris, a lark, a bluebird, or a dewy morning glory. –either Mary McLeod Bethune or The Adventures of The Woman Homesteader: The Life and Letters of Elinore Pruitt Stewart

Kudos to those of you who manage to capture irises beautifully. They are a bit of a challenge for me. A few days ago, I shot some with my iPhone and my Canon. I love the rich colors of the Canon shots, the composition of the phone shots. Which do you prefer?

iPhone:

iPhone Irises

Canon:

Canon Irises


*For some reason everywhere I look on the “innerwebs,” the quote above is attributed to Mary McLeod-Bethune. However, no site pointed me to when or where she spoke or wrote these words. I did find the quote in The Adventures of The Woman Homesteader: The Life and Letters of Elinore Pruitt Stewart in a letter dated May 16, 1933 to Josephine Harrison. Hopefully, I’ll have time to investigate soon.

Sunflowers and Poetry | Let April Be April

2022-04-30_113616

Since I’ve been an academic all my adult life, I have no idea what the end of April feels like for people whose lives are not planned around two 15-week segments. For me, it brings stress and anxiety over the ever-increasing unfinished business of the semester and May “cleanup” work, not to mention all the end-of-the-school-year events and deadlines for my son. When my student France Régine sent me the poem below a few days ago–a day after I’d seen the post on Morgan Harper Nichols‘ Instagram feed–I decided to use the poem to close out the month. It is a beautiful reminder that it is okay to “just be” and not feel the need to solve the problems of the world in one go.

Morgan Harper Nichols
Let April be April,
and let May be May.
And let yourself
just be
even in
the uncertainty.
You don’t have to fix everything.
You don’t have to solve everything.
And you can still find peace
and grow
in the wild
of changing things.

About the Image: The Current card above came from Jamise L–another sunflower lover–I met through Jennifer Belthoff’s Write Together and Love Notes. Her encouraging note came just when I needed it. My friends have been awesome and have kept me well-supplied with sunflower goodies, so there are many more sunflowers to share. Even though this ends our (almost) week of Sunflowers and Poetry, stay tuned to Pics and Posts for more sunflower love!

Sunflowers and Poetry | Why I Wake Early

Sunflower Goat

Good Morning! I’m dropping in a little earlier than usual because I thought you might like to share your morning tea or coffee with this sunflower-bearing (umm…eating) goat. If it is not morning where you are, you should exit this post and return to it in the morning. Kidding, of course! You can read it now and return to it tomorrow morning, if you choose, because today’s poem by Mary Oliver is about celebrating the early morning and starting our days with happiness and kindness. 

Why I Wake Early
by Mary Oliver
 
Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and crotchety–
 
best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light–
good morning, good morning, good morning.
 
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.

About the Image: My pen friend, Kathi G, sent the delightful postcard above. The goat’s name is Rory. Isn’t he absolutely adorable as he munches on a sunflower with a field more of them behind him? This is the work of Dorian Charles of Tabby Hall Designs. Happy eating, Rory!

					

Sunflowers and Poetry | Game Called Life

2022-04-28_112629_1

As promised Monday, I’m back with another poem by Javan. The poem below comes from Something to Someone. If your week has been a little challenging like mine, you might also need this nice and easy poem that doesn’t tax the brain or stretch the intellectual muscles.

By Javan

I’m not very good
at this Game called Life
For I’ve not learned to see children crying
without feeling pain
For I’ve not learned to watch animals destroyed
without wondering why
For I’ve not yet met a king or celebrity
that I would bow down to
or a man so insignificant
that I would use for a stepping-stone
For I’ve not learned to be a
“yes man”
to narrow minded bosses
who quote rules without reason
And I’ve not learned to manipulate
the feelings of others
to be used for my own advantages
then cast aside as I see fit
No, I’m not very good
at this Game called Life
And if everything goes well
maybe I never will be


About the Image: My friend Christine B sent this bright sprinkling of sunflowers to cheer me after I told her I was having a very sad day. She used the TouchNote app to send the postcard featuring her artwork.