April Showers Bring May Flowers

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“And don’t think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter.

It’s quiet, but the roots are down there riotous.”

{Rumi}

The World is Waking Up

“i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
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(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

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how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

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(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)”

The poem  i thank you God for most this amazing by e. e. cummings

Behind the Clouds

On Thursday a winter storm rolled in. Winter weather is always disappointing this time of year when our hearts are set on spring. Apparently Mother Nature does not care if she’s a heartbreaker and was happy to shower us with snow and cold.

We couldn’t get our car up the hill we live on with all the snow on the road so we ended up abandoning it in a parking lot a mile from our house. Darren and I walked the rest of the way home at midnight with the snow still coming down. We were a sight with Darren wearing my fur-lined hood and each of us wearing one of his gloves. We were also carrying a box of ice cream because, snow or not, you don’t want to leave a perfectly good box of ice cream behind.

The next morning we grabbed a shovel and loaded backpacks up with rock salt hoping we would be able to get the car out of the snow. We bundled up and began marching back down the road to the car. We took about five steps before we started falling on our butts. Darren was walking along and fell flat on his bum. I try to be supportive so I laughed at him. He fell two or three more times and I started telling him he would have to walk alone if he was going to be so embarrassing and then I fell right flat on my bum too; that’s what you get for running your mouth and teasing. Every time one of us would get up the other would fall down and we slipped and slid the whole way down the road. It was very funny really, and there is nothing you can do but laugh at yourself in a moment like that.

We made it to the car and were happy to see it hadn’t been towed; we were very worried about that. But it was very, very buried in snow. Honestly, you could hardly even see it in the snow drift. Darren started shoveling it out and I started cleaning it off but the snow was coming down so hard that all my work was covered right back up. We got in the car dripping wet with melting snow and after a couple tries, we were back on the road.

When the wind and the snow are blowing in your face and the whole world seems buried beneath a veil of grey and white, you can’t imagine that the snow will ever melt or the sun will ever shine. But we woke the next day to a clear blue sky and mild spring temperatures.

It is just like Robert Frost said in his poem:

“The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March.”
From the poem Two Tramps in Mud Time

The warm temperatures quickly melted the snow off the roads and Darren and I actually went for another walk the next day—only this time it was for the pleasure of the warm air and sunshine and neither of us fell down. I kept looking at the cobalt sky and I was a little amazed that it had actually been there all along, only hidden behind the clouds and the snow. The blue sky never exactly went away; it was only veiled by the weather.

Life is like that too, I suppose. Life gets stormy and we fall down and it’s hard to imagine that the sun ever shone or will ever shine again. But it does. The clouds clear, we get back up, and the sun continues to shine. Even though we could not see it, the sun never stopped shining and the blue sky never failed. Our vision was veiled but nothing was ever really lost to the storms and clouds.

I’m trying to remember this, that the sky is always blue…right behind the clouds.

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Setting Sun

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“And still, after all this time, the Sun has never said to the Earth, ‘You owe me.’

Look what happens with love like that. It lights up the sky.”

{Rumi}

A Winter Wonderland

Eleven inches of snow fell flake by flake into our yard last night. We woke up this morning to a winter wonderland. We tried and tried to get out of the drive, but alas, we are stuck. Since we are snowed in and I have nothing better to do, I decided to treck out into the snow for some pictures.

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DSC07129“Snow falling and night falling fast, oh, fast

In a field I looked into going past,

And the ground almost covered smooth in snow,

But a few weeds and stubble showing last.

 From Desert Places By Robert FrostDSC07147{The bird house is wearing a snow cap}DSC07154

DSC07127{Today is the perfect day to put your feet up and watch the world go by}DSC07185{I’m going to sip some coffee and finish reading The Hobbit}DSC07187{Katniss thinks he should be sipping coffee too}

Are you snowed in too? :]

I Will Write You a Picture

I’ll write you a picture with my palette of words

I’ll mix and I’ll mingle the nouns and the verbs.

I’ll paint you a story with my writer’s pen

A blank canvas of imagination has no beginning or end.

I’ll show you the world in colorful letters

I’ll write you a picture with commas and feathers.

A dash of whimsy, a touch of black ink,

A stroke of gray graphite mixed up with a wink.

All the colors of dreams painted with verbs

My pen is the paintbrush, my paint is the words.

Of pink paper poppy and flight of black bird

I’ll paint you a story you’ve never quite heard.

Thanks to the ever amazing husband for drawing the picture. He really does put up with a lot around here you know :]

Driftwood

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The driftwood tosses about in the sea

Worn by the waves and the turbulent water.

It looks like the end for the branch or the tree

But it’s just the beginning of beauty perfected.

The storm hews the edges, rough and ugly

Smoothing and softening each imperfection.

The salt and the sun bleach out stains dark

Cleansing and purifying in waters deep.

The wood, smooth and white tell a story

Of hot heat and waters deep.

Each line and each mark attest to the voyage

Of battle scars and beauty born in the rough waves of life’s journey.

Life is no different. We are tossed and beaten by trials. We are challenged and changed by the crashing waves of heartache. But in our heartache we are made perfect. The waves smooth out our rough edges, the heat cleanses and purifies our blemishes. We are wrinkled and scarred by the journey, but in the end, we are softer, smoother, and better for the deep waters and crashing waves that tossed and perfected us along the way.

Life In My Slippers

Well kids, it’s been a busy week and I’m glad to finally have time to sit and write again. We’ve been preparing for our big annual audit at work and I feel like all I’ve done for the last two weeks is sit behind a desk filling out paper work. When it would all get to be too much, I would walk over to the big window in the office and just take in the changing spring-kissed landscape. We’ve been in a dance with the weather here lately–one day is a warm breeze and a cobalt sky, the next is rain drops and jackets. Every time I’m certain spring has finally settled in for good, I wake up to another cold day and bare branches not brave enough to put out leaves. It reminds of me of Robert Frost’s words about this time of year here in New England:

“The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March.”
From the poem Two Tramps in Mud Time

Yesterday was the final day before the audit and everyone at work was rushing around trying to tie things up. One of the girls I work with needed a break from the bustle and went outside for a bit then came back with the cutest little stem of white bell-shaped flowers. She walked around work showing it off like a brand new baby and had everyone smell how fragrant it was for such a tiny thing. Then she got a tiny little cup filled with water and left it on her work table–I think we all enjoyed having a little piece of nature inside with us, especially on such a beautiful day when we all wanted to be outdoors. Actually, my boss wanted to be outside so much that he just took the day off and spent it out on his boat. He came in to work after 9:30 last night in shorts and flip-flops looking like a new man–it’s amazing what a little time outdoors on the water does for the soul.

The husband had to get up early this morning for the audit (I get to stay home and avoid the mess since I just work in the office, hehe). When I came down to the kitchen this morning, I was greeted by a cute little pink flower in a tiny little vase sitting on the windowsill…Husband picked it for me and put it there before he left–he’s a keeper, that one.

Now that I finally have a day out of the office, I’m faced with a mountain of laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, etc. Oh well, I would rather face the laundry than another mountain of paper work. Besides, I get to beat around the house in my slippers sipping coffee and rocking out to OneRepublic and Adele–all is well at the Andrews’ joint 8]

Well, I apologize if my ramblings about everything and nothing bore you–I’m just too fried to talk about anything important today…next week, I promise.

Enjoy your weekend and get outside if you can!

Beautiful Sadness

So often, I find within myself a deep sense of sadness. I have no reason for sadness, but it’s there none the less. I can step back and look at the facts of my life–the fact that I have a happy marriage, a good job, a cozy home, loving friends and family, the hope of God–so much to be thankful for and to look forward to. And yet, even among the facts of my happy life, I find sadness. Unreasonable, inexplicable sadness. I have always felt this sadness something I need to change, to overcome; I have viewed it as a weakness and a flaw…until recently. I have lately started to wonder if this sadness actually has anything good to offer–if it is perhaps a good and important part of my nature rather than a part that need be weeded out.
In The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis says, “God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons that we could learn in no other way.” I’ve been thinking a lot about these words and have started to wonder what lessons I can learn from sadness that I might not learn any other way. I see the following:

  • So much of what I write grows out of sadness, out of the dark times that give me reason to pause, to reflect, and to think harder and deeper. Perhaps if I had a lighter nature and didn’t struggle with sadness so much, I would never be able to think, feel, and write as I do. I feel deeply, which sometimes leads me down a dark road. But if I didn’t feel so deeply, perhaps I would never stop to think deeply, and in turn never write or create beauty out of that darkness. I’m reading Mood Tides by Dr. Ron Horton, a teacher I became acquainted with at the university I attended. Dr. Horton says, “Scripture does not require us to suppress these emotional states but asks us rather to make good use of them. I suspect that apart from emotional lows some would never entertain serious thoughts. Certainly apart from emotional highs it is difficult for the spirit to rise in praise. ‘Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing,’ commands James (James 5:13). Notice that this injunction does not propose correctives to these emotional states. James is not saying jerk yourself out of these moods. He is telling us what to be doing while we are in them.”
  • Sadness helps me look inward and see myself and all that lies within me, good or bad, in a sharper light. How would I ever grow or change if I never stopped to take a sober look at myself? I don’t always like what I see within, but looking away and ignoring the problems doesn’t help me change.
  • Sadness gives me a contrast to happiness that helps me develop a deeper appreciation for all the good in my life. When everything in life is perfect and I’m perfectly happy, I tend to take for granted all I’ve been given. But after a time of sadness and reflection, all the good in my life seems that much brighter and I am that much more thankful for the beauty I’m surrounded by.
  • Sadness helps me better relate to and value the suffering of others. I can say, “I know how you feel,” but I won’t really know unless I’ve been there myself. Sadness and depression are common infirmities and taking my part in them helps me know how to help others in their own darkest hour.

Even with the good I’m starting to see in sadness, I realize too it must not go unbridled. I cannot use sadness as an excuse. I cannot mistreat people around me because I’m upset or down. I can’t live a life of doom and gloom marked only by complaining. If sadness is to be used for good in my life, then I must learn from it and be always moving forward, not wallowing in self-pity. C.S. Lewis says, “Crying is all right in its own way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.” Sadness is only good so far as it helps me reflect and change; anything beyond that is very likely self-indulgence.

Again in Mood Tides, Dr. Horton says of the emotional ups and downs we face, “But if emotional variation is inevitable, spiritual variation is not. Satan delights to attack us at the extremes of our emotional cycles as well as at seasons of life that push us up or down. He need not succeed. We can resist him better if we understand that it is not the extremes themselves but what we do with them that brings about spiritual victory or defeat. We can condemn their indulgent states, pride, and despair, without condemning the fluctuations themselves. For elation and depression are normal moods intended for good. They are moods, it is true, which some must endure as acute and chronic infirmities. Yet they may be endured like other infirmities with the assurance that God can turn suffering to positive gain. There is divine purpose in the rhythms of life.”

I love the poem Desert Places by Robert Frost. Frost’s words about the empty, desert places we find inside ourselves remind me that I’m not alone in this experience:

“Snow falling and night falling fast, oh, fast

In a field I looked into going past,

And the ground almost covered smooth in snow,

But a few weeds and stubble showing last.

The woods around it have it–it is theirs.

All animals are smothered in their lairs.

I am too absent-spirited to count;

The loneliness includes me unawares.

And lonely as it is, that loneliness

Will be more lonely ere it will be less–

A blanker whiteness of benighted snow

With no expression, nothing to express.

They cannot scare me with their empty spaces

Between stars–on stars where no human race is.

I have it in me so much nearer home

To scare myself with my own desert places.”

Desert Places by Robert Frost

The Baby Leaves!

My husband always calls the first leaves of spring “baby leaves” because he gets a kick out of how tiny and bright they are. I decided to write a ditty about these baby leaves in honor of the first day of spring :] I hope you enjoy the baby leaves as they start to poke out in your part of the country!

The birds are singing and the peepers are peeping,

The buds are bursting with baby leaves and blooms.

The flowers are poking their heads through the sod

Ready to unveil the canvas painted all winter long.

The sky is competing with nature’s awakening hues

deepening ever in cobalt blue.

The windows are open, the breeze blows in–

The bugs think it’s an invitation to come in.

The ants are busy, busy as bees

but none are busy as the baby leaves.

A new generation, a grand debut!

The leaves work quickly, they must work fast–

by summer heat their lives are half past.

They delight in the spring with life anew,

Shade in the summer in rich emerald hue.

By autumn’s entrance they are golden and proud

blushing in crimson, pleasing the crowd.

They fall to ground robing it in color,

Sleep all winter getting ready for summer.

We wait and we watch until spring comes again–

until the baby leaves trust the sun’s warm rays

and burst forth with new life for a few short days.