Surprise Bloom

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Gardening is one of my favorite parts of Spring and Summer. I love watching
the dead of Winter stripped away and replaced with new sprigs of green peek-
ing up through the soil.

And sometimes I spot surprises that I didn’t physically plant myself.
Helped along by birds or a seed-scattering breeze, those plants often become my favorites
of the season.

This year, though, I noticed two tall, leafy plants hugging the fenceline.
I had no idea what they were or where they came from, but kept an eye on
them to see whether they were some oddball weed, or a volunteer plant. I
was puzzled by their uniform size. Asked my husband if we had planted some-
thing I’d forgotten. Nope, he said. Must be another garden surprise.

Then I saw it – a single pale pink peony. And like someone waking up from
a deep sleep, things became crystal clear.  Last summer, I’d bought two peony plants that
were sitting on a sales table at a peony farm. We were on the way to the car
and decided to try to save those poor wilted plants. Who can resist a good plant sale?

I’d followed the tag’s instructions, planting each of them in a hole twice as deep and wide as their root-choked pot. I fed them with plant food and checked them every couple of days. Made sure to keep them watered, but not too often. Unfortunately, they shriveled into a flat heap among my flowers, where I let them turn crispy brown and forgot about them.

Until this Spring!

Life isn’t always what it appears to be. On the surface, we might make snap decisions about a situation or person or give up in the face of disappointment. But I’ve learned that for every circumstance there’s a backstory–details that are sometimes known only to God.  He works behind the scenes, bringing new life from seemingly wasted years. He holds all the details, working at changing hearts, attitudes, and relationships.

While we fret and wonder when, how, and why, God’s busy making all things new.My job isn’t to figure it out, but to look expectantly for the surprise bloom.

And be grateful when it appears.

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Backyard Oasis


It takes very little for me to feel content. Somewhere near the top of my list are flowers, a cool morning breeze, and my sweet beagle-lab, Buddy. A notch above those are my wonderful family, friends who make me laugh, and the unconditional love of my Creator.

I don’t require much in the way of latest-greatest gadgets, but give me my Kindle and a good cup of coffee and I’m set. Satisfied. Happy to not chase after every new trend or overthink what others might think of my simple life.

Here’s the view I enjoyed early this morning, right in my own backyard. See? Sometimes the best things in life are free.

mosaic-backyard-july2013 copy

In My Dreams

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painterly-hydrangeas6708My perfect day would be sunny (around 72 degrees), with a slight breeze to cool my face without ruffling the flowers I’m trying to photograph. It would include good coffee, a perfect apple muffin, and no time constraints.

Most days aren’t like that, though, so I take them as they come.  Photography sometimes calls for a detour, too.  An image may look great on my camera’s LCD screen, but stink when I load it onto my Mac at home. Certain images beg to be used as is; others ask for a little tweaking or in the case of the images I’m sharing today–a total makeover. I don’t know why I paint some and leave others alone, but I suspect it has something to do with the mood I’m in on any given day. Using an aging version of Photoshop CS and my trusty Wacom tablet, I like to stretch the boundaries of natural color by adding a little paint here and a layer or two of texture there.

In my dreams, fields of flowers never droop or turn brown. Hydrangea petals display colors unheard of in a Crayola box. Waterscapes reflect a sky in ever-changing, shimmery hues. Yes, it’s stretching the truth a bit for you purists who prefer your art perfectly genuine and true to nature, and I halfheartedly apologize. But for those of you who enjoy a surreal detour now and then and find it fun to experiment with color, this post is for you.

This side of heaven, I can still dream, can’t I?

(*Click images for print info)


BB1041 red treemosaic-hydrangeas4