My Golden Reminder to #facethesun

Golden Hour 1-B

Today is the fourth anniversary of my sister Lori’s passing, so, predictably, I woke up in the grips of sadness. I wanted to spend the day in quiet contemplation, perhaps, dreaming in purple, but Monday means necessary work. I was not exactly looking forward to a long “working meeting” day and wondered how in the world I would get through, but God reminded me that work is sacred and that as long as I continued “working for Him,” He would do His part in helping me feel safe, focused, and strong enough to get through. 

After a gloomy weekend, the sun is shining brightly, an invitation for me to glow in the moment. I am thankful for this moment. Though grieving the loss, I am grateful for Lori’s beautiful life.

I crafted the sunflower in today’s post for the Week 36: Golden Hour prompt for 52Frames. Unable to find a good “golden hour” to shoot in, I spent a figurative golden hour with this sunflower. It is just the image I need to have in my mind–a sunny reminder to change my focus or #facethesun [the Son of God] when I encounter the unpleasant moments of life.

Musings from My Younger Self | I’m the Boss of Me!

Sunflower PaintAfter “Troubled,” yesterday’s dark poem, I thought you might need a little bit of teenage sass. According to the folk who have to put up with me, I still have a bit too much sass from time to time. 

I’m the Boss
Chandra Lynn (Age: 15)

Just because you aren’t here
doesn’t mean I must be lonely;
I admit that I see others,
but in my heart, you’re my one and only.

I received your letter last week
and I didn’t like the tone of your voice;
it seemed as though you were saying
that I must make a choice.

A choice, you say?
Either you or my friends?
That’s not much of a choice;
any mind can comprehend.

Who do you think you are
to tell me what to do?
I know how to live my life
and I need no help from you.

I don’t mean to sound harsh;
I’m just trying to get my point across.
I need to let you know
that when it comes to me, I’m the boss!

This poem was written long before the concept of the “mic drop,” but this certainly feels like one of those moments. 🙂 And oh! It rhymes. I rarely wrote rhyming poems!

Musings from My Younger Self | Silent Battle

Altered Sunflowes-1

Gentle Rage
Chandra Lynn (Age: 15)

There’s a peaceful war
a silent battle,
a gentle raging
taking place;
involved are my mind
and my heart.
I can do nothing to put it to an end.
If it ends, it ends.
Victory will be the conclusion.
Defeat will be the outcome.


This week on the blog, I will be sharing “musings from my younger self,” poetry (and maybe prose) I wrote during my teen years. Sometimes, I will comment, but if today is an indicator of the week ahead, I’ll probably just share the poem. I wrote the poem above when I was 15. If only my memory would allow me to tap into the context of the poem!

Sunny Blossoms | You Are a Gift

I am just hopping off the road from a trip to New Orleans, so I am too exhausted for the words I’d planned for this evening’s blog post. Rather than “skimp” on the pen friend who sent me a very thoughtful sunflower and letter, I’m sharing one of my own sunflower doodles paired with “poetic wisdom” from Cleo Wade’s Heart Talk.

img_0801

May these words stir you to appreciate the gift you are…

Sunny Blossoms | Sunflowers at Her Grave

“Shine Brightly.” PhotoArt by Diane W.

Some time ago I shared a short sunflower poem written by rupi kaur on the blog. I think of this poem often—whenever I think of my sisters, my friend Julie’s oldest daughter (who was also my student), my pen friend Eileen V’s daughter, and others who passed far too soon.

As I was noting the darkness in my office one stormy morning this week, I mentioned to Julie that I need to transfer my sunflower wall back to my office at work, and she began telling me her special sunflower story.

She planted sunflowers at her daughter’s gravesite. For some time, she tended that garden, a necessary act as she worked through those first shocking moments of grief. The garden grew and grew, as gardens do. Eventually but unsurprisingly, she was told it had to be scaled back (out of respect for other decedents and their families). She was able to chuckle a little when she shared that part, as there has been by this time enough distance between the shattering pain of losing a daughter so young and the present moment.

The image of a gravesite bedecked in sunflowers reminded me of the statement my blogging friend, writer Ellen H, made in a comment on one of my recent posts about grief—

Beauty is both stunning and sad. —Ellen Hawley

There is a cost to beauty, so while I marvel over the amazing grace God showers on mothers who lose their daughters, I am keenly aware that the loss leaves a wound that never heals. As Julie says, “it’s a club to which no mother wants to belong.”

Even so, I thank God for Karlette, Lori, Témar, and Alanna. Though there is sadness, I am in awe of the stunning gifts of their brief but brilliant lives.

despite knowing
they won’t be here for long

they still choose to live

their brightest lives

rupi kaur, “sunflowers,” from the sun and her flowers


About the Image: The sunflower art in this evening’s post comes from a photo-art journal crafted by my swap-bot pal, Diane W (aka midteacher). I shared most of the beautiful journal on the blog a few years ago, with a promise to come back and share four of the images in individual posts. I’ll get to the other three…eventually.

Sunny Blossoms | Miles and Miles of Golden Green

sunflower field from deb t

Miles and miles of golden green
where the sunflowers blow
in a solid glow. –Robert Browning
(from “A Lover’s Quarrel”)

The panorama postcard above was sent to me a couple of years ago (?) by Debbie T, one of my Wildflower friends. It was included in a package of gorgeous floral postcards featuring the work of artist Christopher Arndt, who developed a unique style of photo painting. From the postcard back:

The field of sunflowers blooms on a traditional small family farm in northern Wisconsin with a red barn in the background.

The card is part of his Door County, Wisconsin series. Another postcard from that series is featured in an earlier post. You can find and purchase his art by clicking the link above.

I thought I’d slip in this evening and write something beautiful to match Arndt’s gorgeous field of sunflowers. But, I gave this week all I had to give. I survived and gained a new appreciation for the phrase “Thank God it’s Friday (TGIF). Now, I just want to sit quietly with my thoughts until I succumb to sleep.

Until tomorrow…

Sunny Blossoms | The Ultimate Kindness

“Kindness” by Martha S.

Today’s Kindness blossom came from my pen friend, Martha S. She painted the sunflower [with a nod to the Ukraine] for International Women’s Day/Women’s History Month. It was refreshing to see a card that simply reminded us of kindness. 

If we think about it, it all comes down to that. Doesn’t it? If we were more compassionate and thought as highly of others as we think of ourselves, women’s rights wouldn’t need to be a thing!

I know that sounds simplistic. Social structures/constructions are complex, and for some reason, humans have an almost innate suspicion of those who are not like them; furthermore, in many cultures, men have been conditioned to see women as inferior to them. These attitudes seem to be at the root of all unkindness—even in our “smaller” interpersonal interactions.

I wish I could pinpoint the moment where [some] men decided that women were inferior to men. Some point to Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden or Scripture in general, but the argument is not supported in Scripture. What Scripture does uphold is that we are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27); we are part of a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9); and God desires an abundant life for all of us (John 10:10b). And, the best part–His mercy, grace, and salvation are available to all!

That is the ultimate kindness. 

Sunny Blossoms | Glow, Baby, Glow

Christine Brooks Sunflower Alcohol Ink

Sunflower by Christine B.

There was little sun in Northern Alabama today, so this alcohol ink sunflower from my friend Christine B brought the brilliance for us—reminding us to shine, glow, and live life to the fullest!

Stop dimming your
light and shine. If you’re
too bright for them, they’ll
find some shade. Shine,
glow and embody your
life to the fullest. –Sylvester McNutt

Shine on!

Sunny Blossoms | Take What You Need

Lori-Anne Courage Sunflower

“Take Courage,” Sunflower Art by Lori-Anne C

If you’ve ever seen my sunflower wall, you know that my friends keep me well-supplied with sunshine. I can’t tell you the number of times my wall of sunny blossoms cheered me and ushered me from a sour mood to an elevated one. As far as I’m concerned, the world can always use a little more sunshine, so I’m sharing the blossoms from my friends with you all week. [And yes, this is part of my effort to blog every day until my blogiversary]. Here’s the good news: If you live in one of the more sunny climes (read: red hot summer), you can enjoy these daily bits of sunshine without the additional heat. 

I am sharing one of the beautiful sunflower creations crafted by my Love Notes/Wildflowers friend, Lori-Anne C. She sent this bit of gorgeousness for International Women’s Day along with the equally gorgeous address book I shared in another post. 

Lori-Anne also included a “take what you need card” with tear outs of some of our most critical needs: courage, appreciation, confidence, patience, inspiration, and flowers.

Take What You Need

When I received Lori’s mail, I was dealing with a lot–grieving over the loss of my father, worrying about my mother, stressing out over my son’s well-being, and navigating a lot of rocky territory. It took courage to face each day and not hide under the cozy comforters on my bed. It took courage to expose my wounds and fight for the healing which seemed a long way off. It felt right seeing that seven-letter word affixed to the card. Courage, more than anything else, is just what I needed.  

What do you need this week?

Seven Favorites from World Watercolor Month | Sunflowers, Of Course!

Watercolor 31-2022 wm

World Watercolor Month 2022, Day 31 (July 31, 2022)

In her devotional thought, which started this morning’s work session, my colleague, Dr. Sherine talked about the growth processes of a seed, reminding us about the possibilities in us and the beauty that comes through struggle. In ending that part of her discussion and driving the point of the metaphor [of a tiny, dry seed breaking to begin a transformed life], she cautioned–

Breaking happens in the right environment. Otherwise, it’s abuse.

Sit with that for a moment.  

Until tomorrow…