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 | #ThursdayTreeLove | Tree Mail!

from LAW

Who says you can’t fit a tree in a mailbox? My pen friends certainly know how to use snail mail to share what’s growing in their parts of the world, and today I am sharing three photo postcards for your tree-loving pleasure.

My pen friend, Lori Ann W., sent the photo postcard above last October (2021) for a Love Notes prompt. On the back of her card, she wrote:

Find your way through your days knowing you are so very special and are cared about by so many!

A sweet message for a gorgeous scene! The photo was shot by one of her friends, who graciously allowed her to make postcards from the shot.

Christine B, my most prolific pen friend, sent the card below the previous October (2020) for Love Notes too.

from Christine

She wrote:

Give me just a second to remind you how important you are to so many. You have had a lot handed to you and I’m always impressed at how you handle everything.

Aww…this one brought (good) tears to my eyes.

The postcard features a dead ponderosa tree on the bank of Lake Mary in Flagstaff, Arizona. Christine told me Flagstaff has the largest standing ponderosa forest in the country. How cool is that?!

from Karolyn

Finally, these “tree feet” were sent to me by Karolyn for a Photographic Postcard swap on swap-bot. It was sent 6+ years ago, so it has been sitting in my “to be blogged” box an embarrassingly long time.

Karolyn, who’s from Missouri, captured the tree when she visited the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. She found this tree clinging to the rock alongside a waterfall.

All three photo postcards capture the timeless beauty of trees–one tree glowing in the sunset; one dead but standing tall with its evergreen friends; and one with deep, strong roots crawling along a waterfall. Gorgeous sights with beautiful lessons and messages I would have missed if it weren’t for cameras and snail mail.

Snail Mail Quick Tip: Tree mail is easy-peasy to send. Is there an interesting tree along the path you walk, jog, or drive regularly? Is there a favorite tree in your garden? Did you find a tree that took your breath away while you were in a park or on a nature trail? Trees are–thankfully-everywhere, so that makes sending trees a cinch: Just take a shot, have it printed at your local photo printer (even Walmart and Walgreens print postcards onsite), write a note, and send it on its way to make a mailbox and a human happy.


I am joining Parul Thakur for #ThursdayTreeLove every second and fourth Thursday of the month. If you would like to play along, post a picture of a tree on your blog and link it back to her latest #treelove post.

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

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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.

Sunflowers and Poetry | How We Fit

“Le prince solaire” by A. Kumurdjian

Today has been filled with too much talking, too much paper-shuffling, and not enough silence. Even as I type these few words, I hear the text messages [that I will ignore until morning] coming in. So, for now, a very short poem from Meister Eckhart’s Book of Heart: Meditations for the Restless Soul by Jon M. Sweeney and Mark S. Borrows. May we all find a bit of stillness in this moment. 

How We Fit
Meister Eckhart | Sweeney and Burrows

You made us for Yourself.
and we fit not as one part

to another but rather as
emptiness meets fullness.

as darkness seeks light,
as loneliness wants love,

as what is wounded
longs for healing.

About the Image: My Love Notes friend Sarah S sent the photo postcard above for International Women’s Day. She sent the postcards with “prayers for peace, strength, and women all over the world, especially women of the Ukraine.” The majestic sunflower was shot by A. Kumurdian. Don’t you just love the postal tattoos? 🙂

Love Notes | There is beauty…

Suzette Purple Wildflower

“There Is Beauty,” Photo by Suzette R.

At night the watchmen of the city say,
“Beauty shall rise with the dawn from the
east.”
     And at noontide the toilers and the way-
farers say, “We have seen her leaning over
the earth from the windows of the sunset.”
 
     In winter say the snow-bound, “She shall
come with the spring leaping upon the hills.”
     And in the summer heat the reapers say,
“We have seen her dancing with the autumn
leaves, and we saw a drift of snow in her
hair.”  –Kahlil Gibran, from The Prophet
 

Sadly, we’ve reached the final Love Notes 38 post. This round was a little of what my soul needed. I am in a tough place (emotionally), and Suzette’s well-prepared packages offered a bit of respite.

Love Notes 38, Prompt 3: There is beauty…

For this prompt, Suzette shared an excerpt of “On Beauty” [above] by Kahlil Gibran, one of my favorite poets.

She, then, shared her own insights on the prompt:
 
There is beauty in every facet of our day-to-day lives. The trick is to be watchful and ready to see it and embrace it when it happens.  –Suzette R.
 
and 
 
There’s beauty in folding a freshly washed load of laundry. There’s beauty in shadows cast by the setting sun. There’s beauty in holding a favorite book. There’s beauty in loving. There’s beauty in aging skin. There’s beauty in every landscape and vista. There is beauty all around when there’s love at home.  –Suzette R.
 
Such healing words!
 
The three posts this week have focused on Suzette’s responses to the prompts, but I did not mention the experience of receiving her elegant packages. You have seen her gorgeous artwork, but you have not seen the little touches–butterfly stamped envelopes, butterfly notecards and washi tape, additional notes of encouragement and poetry tucked inside glassine envelopes. The responses to the prompts were printed on nice card stock and cut/edged exquisitely–almost as if she prepared them to go into my journals. The care she took with each package warmed and soothed my aching heart.
 
Thank you, Suzette, for your friendship and for taking the time to craft beautiful mail that I am honored to share with the world.

Love Notes | Invite in the idea…

Suzette Truck

Sometimes you take it all in. Sometimes you let it all go. Wings are made for flight, but birds have feet for a reason. Balance.

I am back today with Suzette R’s response to Love Notes 38.2.  She captured the dreamy photo above  in Ten Sleep, Wyoming, and for her response, she wove together various quotes and ended with her own invitation. Enjoy!

Love Notes 38, Prompt 2: Invite in the idea…

Invite in the idea…

That sometimes we take it all in
and sometimes we
need to let it all go.

That “each of us is a part
of all that surrounds us…
…and every joy we feel
is a celebration of life.” [Flavia]

That “Surely a star danced
in Heaven on the day you
were born.” [Flavia]

That “When big things feel
out of control…focus on
what you love right under 
your nose.” [Charlie Mackesy]

That “Being kind to yourself
is one of the greatest kindnesses.” [Charlie Mackesy]

That you inspire so many people
with your kindness
and your example.

Love Notes | I hope you discover…

“Discover.” Photo by Suzette R.

Love Notes Round 38 (!) just ended, and my partner, Suzette R., sent three very touching envelopes overflowing with beauty and inspiration. As the chaotic and maddening end of January gives way to the frenzy of February, this week is a good time to allow Suzette’s lovely expressions to do the blog work for me. I hope you are inspired.

LN 38 Prompt 1: I hope you discover…

I hope you discover…

We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.—Jawaharlal Nehru

I hope you discover…

It’s your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you. – Rumi

I hope you discover…

Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we’ll ever do. —Brené Brown

I hope you discover…

What you seek is seeking you. —Rumi

I hope you discover…

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars, to change the world. –Harriet Tubman

May you have a week filled with wondrous discovery.

Welcome, Winter!

Paddington with Snowball

Welcome, winter. Your late dawns and chilled breath make me lazy, but I love you nonetheless.  —Terri Guillemets

Paddington, one of my favorite bears, and I are dropping in to wish you a “Happy Winter!” Stay warm and safe!


About the Image: “Paddington with Snowball,” the image above, is featured on a winter card my Love Notes friend Gina B sent last Christmas. Paddington is adapted from the original, illustrated by Peggy Fortnum. I have been looking forward to sharing him for a whole year! 😀