A Bouquet of Flowers

Well. Here it is. First day of back-to-school week, which means summer is officially over. If you’ve been following along through my summer posts, you know it has been an interesting summer… full of ups and downs and failed plans. So, I am marking today with a big bouquet of flowers. A celebration of sorts, a chance to move forward in the adventure, and see where this next “new year” goes.

Our little urban garden is starting to yield its last of the produce, but we are still waiting for the sunflowers to bloom. They are strong, and very tall… but have not presented their happy, seed-filled faces yet! Did we plant too late? Did we forget something? I’m not sure. Perhaps they are just late bloomers, and we will simply have to wait and be patient. We also planted nasturtiums, an edible plant that I was hoping to pretty up salads with… but they didn’t grow at all! What did grow was a huge goldenrod bush… basically a wildflower… better known as a weed. It flourished mightily. Although, I hear you can make a really nice goldenrod tea… when life gives you lemons and all that… At least the bees enjoyed it.

photo by kilarov-zaneit via Unsplash

I was never a big flower fan when I was younger. Of course, I loved a bouquet of roses as much as any romantic teen, but gardens should be practical and contain something “useful” like vegetables. But I have grown and matured and have come to appreciate flowers. The simple diversity of blooms and variety of colour, alone, makes them worthy of pondering. As I read more on gardens and foraging, the medicinal use of things like echinacea, camomile, and lavender, have peaked my interest in the practical characteristics of the “pretty” plants. So, forgive me if you are a flower fiend, and have tended the perfect English rose garden for years. I am still learning.

As a scientist, I’m aware that flowers also have quite a deep history. I’ve already alluded to the medicinal uses of flowering buds. Still, have you heard of this thing called the Fibonacci sequence ? Flowers have such. Repeating patterns in perfectly mathematical sequences that bear the mark of a unique and complex Creator. Cool. And let’s not forget the simple fact that flowers are the lifeblood of the plant… seeds and fruit that perpetuate the next generation! Not just pretty faces, indeed.

And so, on this first day, of this new fall year, be encouraged by a “simple” flower. Pick a bouquet for yourself or someone else and share the love. Tag me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram! I’d love to see how you are choosing to bloom today!

Deep Clean

I’m sitting here in my living room on cleaning day (yes, I have a day designated to clean — don’t judge, it’s just how I roll) and wondering how the blazes did it get like this in less than a week? The curtains are askue, there are fingerprints on the door, and the screen on the window looks like it could fill a truckload up in dust. The fish tank is in desperate need of a deep clean and is becoming a haven for some unknown kind of pleasantly coloured green algae that I am sure is keeping the poor guppies alive because I haven’t feed them in days. The Risk game is still on the kitchen table from the two day marathon the kids had with their friends. There is a bowl and spoon sitting here beside me as I type. I think it is from someone’s breakfast cereal this morning, and it wasn’t me, so add “failure to instruct children in good clean up habits” to my list of mom woes.

I’m contemplating how quickly my couches would burn if I lit a match. They are second hand, once removed, and have been decimated by cat scratches and greasy, buttered bagels served at leisurely couch-as-dining-table breakfasts. No worries though, they are creature free — if you don’t count the very large dust bunnies that lurk in between the cushions. But they are comfy, and I won’t mind at all if you put your shoes up on ’em and relax.

It didn’t use to be this way. I used to be much more particular. I love neat and organized cupboards and alphabetized collections. I recently binged watched YouTube videos about hoarding vs. obsessive compulsive cleaners in the UK. And although I have never spent 20 hours a week bleaching my toilet bowl, nor have 80 pairs of random shoes piled to the ceiling in my spare bedroom, I somehow managed to find a healthy balance of cleanliness and happiness. Today, on this cleaning day, a week before school starts, and on the brink of unexpected guests, I am just not feelin’ it. I’ll probably freak out and yell (or maybe silently fester) about it because my brain wants one thing and I’m faltering at obtaining the other. Ah, crap. So be it.

If there is one thing I learned from my blatant waste of time on YouTube, it was that both the hoarders and the OCD’ers struggled with something on the inside that resulted in their outside cleaning habits. Like Jesus’ rebuke of the Pharisees in the New Testament: Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Matthew 23:25. How many times do I struggle with my outward vs. my inward? A lot. Introverts struggle even more, I think. Curvy girls? Double that.

I’m patiently waiting for God to show me how to clean up. Like scrubbing pots, it seems to be a long and tedious process. My heart has nooks and crannies that haven’t been vacuumed for years, and the cobwebs hang heavy. It’s a process, and each box of clutter has to be sorted, dusted and re-evaluated. I’m tempted to throw in the towel with the rest of the dirty laundry, and sell the whole blessed house in exchange for the country retreat… chicken coops clean themselves, right? But perhaps that would just be inheriting someone else’s mess. In fact, I know it would be inheriting someone else’s mess.

I suppose I will have to plod along and somewhere find the balance between the dust bunnies and the dust bins. I’ve put in the first load of laundry. That’s a start, right?

A Time for Everything

Ecclesiastes 3 The Message (MSG)

There’s a Right Time for Everything

There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:

2-8 A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.

9-13 But in the end, does it really make a difference what anyone does? I’ve had a good look at what God has given us to do—busywork, mostly. True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time—but he’s left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he’s coming or going. I’ve decided that there’s nothing better to do than go ahead and have a good time and get the most we can out of life. That’s it—eat, drink, and make the most of your job. It’s God’s gift.

14 I’ve also concluded that whatever God does, that’s the way it’s going to be, always. No addition, no subtraction. God’s done it and that’s it. That’s so we’ll quit asking questions and simply worship in holy fear.

15 Whatever was, is.
Whatever will be, is.
That’s how it always is with God.

God’s Testing Us

16-18 I took another good look at what’s going on: The very place of judgment—corrupt! The place of righteousness—corrupt! I said to myself, “God will judge righteous and wicked.” There’s a right time for every thing, every deed—and there’s no getting around it. I said to myself regarding the human race, “God’s testing the lot of us, showing us up as nothing but animals.”

19-22 Humans and animals come to the same end—humans die, animals die. We all breathe the same air. So there’s really no advantage in being human. None. Everything’s smoke. We all end up in the same place—we all came from dust, we all end up as dust. Nobody knows for sure that the human spirit rises to heaven or that the animal spirit sinks into the earth. So I made up my mind that there’s nothing better for us men and women than to have a good time in whatever we do—that’s our lot. Who knows if there’s anything else to life?

It’s a funny thing, Time. Just this week we celebrated birth and death. We did laundry and dishes and went to work and played ball. Our summer is flying quickly by and I have been reminded -yet again- of how time never stops. Time keeps on ticking. We are finite. God, however, is infinite. Only He can see the “big picture” for what it really is. And so I muse, And invite you to ask the question as well: What have you done, my friend, with your time?