Flower Power

Christian womanhood, flowers, home, Jesus, lifestyle, Motherhood, thanksgiving, Travel, Travel Home

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“Flowers are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty

outvalues all the utilities in the world.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

What compares to a bundle of joyful petals and stems? Hint: pretty much nothing. From everyday moments and celebratory occasions to honoring the deceased, there is hardly a situation not made more pleasant or comforting by seeing and smelling flowers. Historically there were both symbolic and pragmatic reasons for having pretty blossoms at events like weddings and funerals. Some reasons are quite hilarious (think lack of hygiene), and I’m glad the tradition remains.

In the current temperature of our culture, writing about flowers may seem trite, but I believe noticing and appreciating God’s creation is an important part of our lives. It is this purposeful noticing that leads us into an attitude of thankfulness and then joy. Ann Voskamp writes, “God gives gifts and I give thanks and I unwrap the gift given: joy” (One Thousand Gifts).

Motherhood is challenging (which is a super nice way of saying it’s like getting caught in a riptide–but then, when you come up sputtering for a breath of air, you witness the most beautiful sunset). There are so many emotions and questions. I often wonder if I’m doing it right, but one thing I’m proud of is teaching my daughter to smell flowers every time she comes across them. Watching her jam her nose into a plant, sniffing, looking–what a comfort to my heart. It’s symbolic of how I hope she views life. Taking in the beauty around her, neither too busy nor detached to lean in and show affection–this is how I hope she will be as a person, woman, and (I pray) a follower of King Jesus.

I believe in the power of fresh flowers, particularly ones that are locally grown. Of course the grocery store variety are a gift as well. Toss that $4.97 bouquet into your cart and then into a mason jar when you get home–brighten your house and your mood! But it’s been a special thing to know our local flower lady (Beth with The Flower Peddler). We met at the local Farmer’s Market, and my favorite Saturdays involved treks home with my plunder of fresh produce, donuts, and flowers from Beth.

Buying local flowers is a way to beautify your home with unique nature elements and support a local small business. Knowing even tidbits about the fauna and flora of your area helps foster an appreciation. Indigenous flowers grow more easily, and you’re adding to the beauty of your community. I’m terrible at remembering their names, but I want to be better–Asters, Sweet Peas, Zenias, Phlox, and the ever mystifying Southern Magnolia are a few local favorites of my area. Soon I hope to plant some flowers with my daughter. May we notice, nurture, and enjoy.

At the risk of over quoting Emerson (but good grief, the man writes of flowers so well) he wrote, “Many eyes go through the meadow, but few see the flowers in it.” I want to always see the flowers, even when fear, busyness, or the mundane bits of the day seem to fill my life, may I always see the flowers in it.

 

 

 

5 Ways to Make a Short-term Stay Feel like HOME

adventure, children, Christian, Christian womanhood, Christian women, family, home, lifestyle, Motherhood, serendipity, traditions, Travel, Travel Home

While a lot of the world has been in quarantine, our family has been in the process of moving. We’re dragging a little, but we’re grateful. Our house sold, and we have friends who are willing to take on our loud and needy crew in the midst of a pandemic. As Motel sings in Fiddler on the Roof, “Miracle of miracles!”

Allegedly we’re on our way to live in the gorgeous Cotswolds of England for a few years. It feels a little fake, but I know once my feet hit the airport floor, babies and backpacks abounding, I’ll get that rush of excitement and work to own the whole thing. 

But for now it’s setting boundaries for the toddler plopped into a new, not-ours environment while subsequently saying no to the majority of her favorite things: the playground, playdates, play places. Say goodbye to all the play! Just kidding–now we find fallen branches for her to climb, and we enjoy running through the sprinkler. One of the most surprising challenges of the quarantine has been the heaviness of being unable to give my daughter her favorite things. Clearly this is a very small hardship, but a mama’s heart still feels the sting. A few things in particular have helped us adjust, and I thought I’d share.

Temporary Home(y)

1.Essential oil diffuser/candles—Familiar and inviting smells can help a place feel more like home. An essential oil diffuser is safer than candles when you have tiny ones in someone else’s home, ha! We also use a battery-operated flicker candle for nice ambiance without the aforementioned danger. Right now I’m enjoying uplifting citrus scents like lemon, grapefruit, and sweet orange in a clay diffuser that doesn’t need power.

2.Routine—We do not follow a strict schedule, but we generally have a daily pattern that includes naps and quiet times for the littles (and us, when we don’t need to work!), exercise, outdoor play, listening to familiar music, reading time, etc. This helps with a sense of normalcy for all of us. When there are new rules for children to learn in a new location, it’s nice to have a routine that helps them relax, since they know what is coming throughout the day.

3. Enjoy what is different about the new location—for us: sidewalks. Our last house was on a very busy road, so it’s nice to just walk out the door to sidewalks and take the kids for a stroll, waving at our temporary neighbors and looking for puppies, ducks, and birds. Our daughter’s beloved Daniel Tiger says about trips, “Find what’s different and what’s the same.” Here I am taking advice from a toddler show, but this is my life now, and that is a-okay. 

4. Family traditions—Since the dawn of our little family, that has meant DONUTS, sometimes weekly and sometimes monthly. They might be fancy local donuts from a Charleston shop or 50 cent donuts from Walmart, but we eat these delectable carbohydrates with strong americanos and eNjOy!

5. Chill When You Can–Let me be clear, while I love writing about exciting trips and thoughtful things of life, my adventure-loving self is now a mother of two very dependent tiny people, and I’m daily jonesing for some veg time.

The Big Picture

A short-term stay reminds me, a tired woman feeling a bit displaced, that all of my homes here on this earth are indeed temporary. I’m a sojourner, holding on to the hem of the Prince of Peace, like the woman with the issue of blood. I’m holding on to Him. What a relief to know He’s already holding on to me (John 10:28).