Today is Ash Wednesday also known as the first day of Lent. For the next 40 days, a number of people will be giving up something to take part in the lead up to Easter. I’m not a Catholic so I don’t go to the church to have ashes put on my forehead although I think that tradition is quite nice. I have a number of friends who will be walking around with this mark all day.
I also don’t usually give up anything for Lent but I do try to use the period to attempt to fix some habit or personality issue that I perceive I have. Sadly, I haven’t been really successful in making life time changes – I have read somewhere that you can form a new habit in 30 days but I’m not sure I agree with that. I plan to test the theory yet again this year as I am going to try to not be so dang sensitive. I find as I get older that I’ve become someone who seems to wear her heart on her sleeve. I wasn’t this way before but for some reason, it’s been true for the last few years.
I tend to invest everything I am into every endeavor I undertake and that includes friendships. I’m finding as I age that this is not the norm for people and as a result, I’ve been in situations where I get hurt (feelings, not physical).
I’ve decided to try to change a little and not invest so deeply so fast. I’ve got a new mantra I’m going to try in this Lenten period and it’s “surface, surface, surface.” I am going to endeavor to keep things on a surface level. Once I master that and learn to take my time in diving in deep, I think I will be better off and my heart may hurt less.
What about you? Any ashes for your forehead? Any Lenten traditions?
Well, winter is winding down, right? At least, I hope it is. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we’ve been blessed with a pretty mild winter. (And I say that tongue in cheek as I’m one who prefers a little snow each winter). I hope you have had a tolerable winter, also.
Now that Spring is around the corner, my husband is starting on garden projects. This year, we’re (oooh, I think I just used the royal “WE” there) starting some seeds in our newly enclosed greenhouse. This structure has been there the entire time we’ve lived here, but we never took the time to enclose it.
So now, what used to be a playhouse for our grandchildren is now called “the blue house”. And hopefully, it will give hubby a running start at the produce production. Not that he needs it. I don’t think he remembers there’s only two of us living here when he plants those seeds.
Dude, our 17 pound cat, is already showing signs that he’s coming out of hibernation. He’s not hesitating so much when you open the door to let him out. Cold weather will turn him around in a heartbeat. I think he spends half the winter curled up close to the wood stove. He’s now going outside for more than a quick potty trip. And, at 17 pounds, we’ve been able to talk him into walks around the property. Yes, that’s right. We have to take our cat for a walk. It’s the only way he’ll exercise. He’s such a lazy guy, but too loveable to berate. lol.
Happy almost Spring, everyone!
Being a creative being, I consider myself to be in tune with nature. The beginning of each season inspires me, recharges me, and ignites my creativity. I love fall. Nature settles down for a long winter nap. Everything becomes dormant and … well gray once Autumn’s dance is over and the colors have faded from view. Outside my mother’s kitchen window is a massive evergreen whose strong limbs reach heavenward in praise of God. It turns a fiery yellow every autumn and then gracefully loses its needles. It’s the only evergreen I’ve ever seen do this. It’s an incredibly gorgeous tree. My pastor’s wife loves winter trees, the pose they strike as they wait for new life to spring anew is beautiful to her. Because of her, I’m looking at trees in a new light these days. I have found that she is right.
Winter intrigues me. It covers everything with a frosty white that is the epitome of purity, and being clean, and pristine beauty. I have to have the winter of my year every year. It’s in my creative blood to see beauty in starkness, I think. Besides, I love that moment where I breathe out and the winter wind blows my breath back onto my glasses and causes them to fog over. That’s the moment I know winter has gracefully arrived and said hello to me.
Summer fascinates me. The sun chases away the moon for a few extra hours each day. There are lovely aromas in the air from flowers to bar-b-ques to sunscreen. My favorite scent of summer is the ocean. That cool spray that washes over hot skin and leaves behind a trace of salt water and the aroma of the beach.
But spring enchants me. When the first bursts of life spring forth in shades of green, brilliant hues of flower blooms, and babies of many species, I want to sit very still and capture it all with my eyes, my nose, my ears, and my mind. I don’t just want to admire it, I want to be part of it if only as a bystander. The dormancy of winter virtually explodes vital life in springtime where I live. I can sit beneath a tree and experience the faintest caress of a breeze on my face and arms and it always carries with it fresh, new scents that I would miss if I didn’t stand still and wait for it.
I see God’s creative hand in every season, and I know that He gave me just a teeny bit of that creativity when He made me, when He crafted the designer original that I am … that we all are.
I don’t think I could live where there weren’t four very distinct seasons. Perhaps it would stifle my creativity?
What inspires you?
Until next time, I hope you all are well and enjoying the fresh vitalization that spring delivers.
Posted in Inspiration, Nature, Seasons, Valerie J. Patterson
Tagged Autumn, Creativity, God, Spring, Summer, Trees, Valerie J. Patterson, Winter
I’m ridiculously happy that it’s April. Why, you may ask? Because that conference I was in charge of is OVER!!! It was a great success and I’m glad of that, but it was also quite stressful. I didn’t really realize how much relief I’d feel when it was done. I never, never, never want to go through it again. To quote Charles Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” There were some lovely things that happened that weekend and there were some ugly things that happened as well. I think the good outweighed the bad and I learned some things that I really needed to know. I’m very, very glad it’s in the past. I’m moving past the heartache from some of the events and moving forward toward some goals I set while there.
I hope everyone has a wonderful spring going on. So far, mine is fine. I’ve even had less allergies this time around which is super nice. My dental hygienist told me a trick a couple of years ago and it really works. She said to get local made honey and take two tablespoons a day. She puts her on a bagel, I take mine straight. LOL – I’m amazed how well it works. It’s kind of like an inoculation as the honey is made from the same pollens that cause the allergies. I recommend trying it. Make sure you get honey made locally, not the grocery store stuff. Let me know how it works for you.
The old saying of March coming in like a lion and going out as a lamb is working in it’s opposite house this year on the gulf coast of Florida. We have had some awesomely warm weather. The poor plants are totally confused. The Japanese Magnolia at my office has already bloomed and the petals are falling. (See my Wordless Wednesday post at my personal blog today for a better shot as the best shots wouldn’t load for some reason. http://jillianchantal.com/2011/03/02/wordless-wednesday-40/ )
On my way home on Monday afternoon, I noticed that a lot of pear trees were blooming as well. I said “wonder why my pear tree isn’t in bloom.”- I had left home at five a.m. as once a month I have to drive three hours one way for the day job – it was pitch dark when I left home. Imagine my delight when I got home to see my pear tree in bloom- early- drat it- As you may remember, I was going to post pictures once a quarter so you could see how it changes through the year- so, this will be a month early as I want to share the lovely white blooms.
I love March- both of my kids were born in this month- although they are different astrological signs and are opposites in personality, they do have a birthstone and their intelligence in common. I love the dickens out of both of them. They make my life sing. I sometimes believe my whole purpose here on this planet was to bring these two young men to life. I have great expectations for them both. One is in his last semester of architecture school and the other is in the 11th grade and is on the academic team- his coach calls him “the ace in the hole.”
Happy Spring from here in North West Florida! See ya in April!