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.

 

 

 

What My Puppy’s Death Taught Me

Christian, Death, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Jesus, thanksgiving

Remember my first installment of “Weekend Wonders” where I talked about the puppies? Since then I have come to recognize, even more, the importance of always thanking God in the moment and loving those around us, taking no gift for granted.
Within a period of four days, my husband and I lost two of “our” puppies to Parvo (it seems). The dogs technically belonged to a neighbor, but we trained them, loved on them, and helped take care of them. They shared our front porch and greeted us at the gate. But they were not ours, and so we did not decide whether or not they went to the vet for their shots. And perhaps they would have become sick, regardless.
Staying up late into the night with the little puppy as she suffered, wheezed, and bled, I realized that my precious little Beanie was a picture of this world. She was a picture of our lives. An adorable, sweet, baby puppy was dying a painful death. In our world there is fleeting beauty and innocence, but it is vulnerable to sickness and will never survive on this side of heaven. 
In Keep a Quiet Heart, Elisabeth Elliot said, “…God has allowed in the lives of each of us some sort of loss, the withdrawal of something we valued, in order that we may learn to offer ourselves a little more willingly, to allow the touch of death on one more thing we clutched so tightly, and to know fullness and freedom and joy that much sooner. We’re not naturally inclined to love God and seek His Kingdom. Trouble may help to incline us–that is, it may tip us over, put some pressure on us, lean us in the right direction.”
On Sunday we said goodbye to some dear friends who are leaving the island–their kids are bundles of joy, and the husband and wife are good friends and examples to us. We really love them. 
Today I broke one of my favorite tea cups. It shattered all over the floor with the sharpest crash.

These are small losses. Believe me, I know. I have watched people bury their little children. I have watched people die of cancer. I have watched mothers become widows. 
But I have also watched God give new life and love to those who knew such grief.
There are bleak days and there are sunny days, but certain losses will always, in our hearts, penetrate both. Just remember that Jesus is with His children. And He is coming back. Let that hope and this world’s pain lean you closer to Him. Of all the beauties in this life, He is the most beautiful.
Keep the Faith, 
Audrey Ann