Friday, April 26, 2013

Peony Power

I have developed a full blown love affair with flowers. Now, it's not to the point where I'm talking to them yet...Well actually, I did speak to one today so cancel that. I said something to the effect of "you have to get better." Hey don't judge. Besides, you'd do the same thing if you were in my shoes. One of my all time favorite flowers (and only for the sake of this post will I admit I have one) is the peony. For those of you who don't know what they look look like, see below:
l.KANSAS(red) - Click Image to Closel.FESTIVA MAXIMA(dbl wht)
Oh, and yes these happen to smell as beautiful as they look. They come in a variety of colors, coral and purple being the most stunning (my opinion). They are reasonably priced, but when you have a project the size of mine, and a limited budget, they are not reasonably priced enough, which brings me back to my story. I was out in the yard today (where else would I be on such a beautiful day) surveying my latest project (I'm landscaping a slope in the front yard). I've planted a row of rose bushes, and thought that something with lush, green leaves would add contrast, and look nice there. That's when I remembered the lone peony I inherited from the previous owner of this property. Unfortunately, it was planted in a shaded location. Peonies are not a shade plants. I also learned that they are finicky about being moved. In attempt to save this plant I actually debated cutting down the tree that was causing the shade. My husband wouldn't go for it. After a year of stalling, and with the plant near death, I was forced to make a decision. Today, and far to late in spring to transplant the poor thing, I gathered the courage, dug it up, and gave it a sunny, new location. I'm not sure if it's gonna make it, but hopeful. I'd love for this story to have a happy ending. I don't even know the color of the flower on this particular peony bush. Only time will tell. I'm hoping it turns out looking like this:

But for now it looks like this:

Pathetic. I know. I've heard that talking to plants help. I'm not saying that I willing to have a full blown conversation, but given the looks of this one,  and despite the "looks" I'll be getting when I do, I'm at least willing to say hi. I'm thinking we'll be be on speaking terms for a while...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Learning Well

"Fisherman can't smell he own basket." 

You can thank my grandmother for that dandy line. It came up in a recent conversation with my sister. As I reflected on it's meaning, I was reminded, some of the best lessons ever taught are outside of a classroom. In fact they aren't of an academic nature at all. They are lessons on/in life. 
Jesus who created it all, didn't come to earth to teach us more about science.  He could have. He didn't come to teach us more about math. He could have. He didn't come to teach us more about astronomy  He could have. Point is, He could have literally blown our minds. Instead, he came, to offer Himself a sacrifice. He taught us about life, how to love, and how to live. His lessons were character related, and far from the lessons of today's classrooms. I not saying dismiss academics altogether. A good education can't be discounted. I'm saying, the definition of "education" should be expanded to include such things as learning how to live. It should include topics like how to forgive, how to love, being gracious, how to resolve conflict etc. These lessons/qualities are priceless. Imagine what would our country be like if a high scores in respect were as prized as high scores on the SAT.
When that "fisherman can't smell he own basket" line came my way, I instantly knew the meaning: It's hard for people to see their own messes. It's much easier to see what's wrong with/in another person's life, while overlooking your own work areas. My grandmother had a way of making us understand big things by using the little things around us. Jesus did this. It was His teaching tool. Maybe that's why, when Grammy used it, it was so effective. I always knew what she was saying, even if I didn't always follow it. She didn't use a ton of words, she just knew when to speak the right ones. Her lessons proved to be some of the most valuable ones in my life. Better than any classroom, was a conversation with Sarah Knowles. She's the wisest human I've ever met, having only the most elementary of formal education. Funny, because some of the most ridiculous things I've heard said (and seen done) have come from some of the most academically educated. At first glance that would seem a contradiction.  It's not. I came to the realization that there are simply two schools. Some people are students of life. They learn its lessons, and they excel. Some people do well in a classroom, but flunk life simplest of lessons. It's best to be a student of both. Learning how to live is being the better choice. No amount of academics, will ever compensate for wisdom, and knowing how to approach life related issues.
High school was no picnic for me, but if I could do it again, I'd rather see more classes on character, ethics and integrity. I am still waiting, and long since forgotten how algebra, calculus, trigonometry, and the like, applies to my life. An involuntary runaway smirk still roams my face when I think about a certain class I had on the use of word processors   Yes, I'm old enough to remember them. Mostly, I marvel at just what a waste of time it was. I would have much rather hear all about "fishermen" and their "baskets", and how "it takes all kinds to make the world go round." Or how "a bird in the hand is  worth two in the bush."  Those were lessons well learned. They stuck. In my life these lessons are still in use, unlike a certain algebra class...

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Money Plants

The flowers are coming up. It seems every plant is competition with the other, to be most showy. At this point it's safe to say the Money Plants are winning. We happen to have an abundance of them. The little one loves flowers. I couldn't resist taking a picture or fifty...
Too bad all those blooms won't turn into hundred dollar bills...
She likes to pick them.

and smell them...

bust mostly she just likes to be outside among them,  I'll be armed with my camera for the next few months...

Monday, April 8, 2013

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

What do you do when you KNOW you've been lied to?  

Recently I was told something that I know is at best a stretch of the truth. Frankly, it's a bold face lie! Now I'm left in quite the position, do I proceed with this person as though they are a liar, and not to be trusted? OR, do I chalk it up to a momentary indiscretion, and let it go. For me, the latter is the harder of the two. I naturally lean toward the "don't trust that person" thing. This puts me in a bit of a quandary, because what was done in my presence, is not unlike anything I've ever done. It's not my common practice, but if I'm honest, I've been here long enough to have told some little white lies, some big black ones, and all shades in between. I couldn't be less proud of this behavior. It's a large part of the reason why in my adult life, I strive for total honesty. Total honesty is not as easy as it sounds. I've noticed that what constituted dishonesty for me has changed over the years. For example, the extent to which I alter my behavior to make it more palatable for a given crowd, could be a lie.  The best example of this came early in my marriage. If Ken an I had a fight on the way to church (seems like back then most arguments occurred on the way to church) I'd go in church, and act as though all things were fine. It's not that I needed to blab to the world about fighting with my spouse (much like I'm doing now) but I didn't need the pretense either. For me, that was a lie in action. Today, I'm less likely to play the pretend game. My point is, not all lies are communicated verbally. 
For the longest time I thought that, because I didn't articulate a lie, I was an honest person. It was years before I realize that some of the most incredible whoopers ever told were/are never verbalized. Ouch! 
If I'm not careful, I can still lie via action, especially in social settings. Perhaps I'll laugh at joke that isn't so funny. Or maybe, I'll laugh a little longer to give credence to humor in a situation that's barely funny. It's hard not to laugh, when you can tell someone is trying. Besides, it's socially acceptable to reward them with the gesture. Yet I know, this kind of attitude/thinking is based in dishonesty. Sure, it might sound as though I've gone to far with this, but would you want to be the person telling the joke, thinking you're funny, because everyone is laughing, only to find out it was more sympathy laughter, and you are so not funny. You are straight up corny! Wouldn't it be more gracious not to laugh, and let the person figure out, they're not funny? That way, at least they can stop embarrassing themselves. This is a silly example of lying via action. There can be other, deeper, and more harmful ways we do this.  In my life I know it to be true. As much as it bothers me that someone would dare lie to my face, I know that I must extend them grace. I've been guilty of the same, even if not in so many words. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Holiday Do-over

What have you been up to?  I've been recovering from the holiday... well sort of.
It's a VERY reluctant start to the work week around these parts. In fact, we're so sluggish I'm thinking of boycotting the week altogether.
I love Easter. I'd like to dwell on the significance of it a little longer. Actually, this year I've felt a little cheated. I don't think I reflected, or celebrated the holiday worthily or sufficiently. We were so engrossed in other things leading up to it, I don't think it got the attention it deserved.
     A few years ago I remember asking myself "what's the one thing I can't live without?" I can't recall what inspired the question, but I'll never forget the answer. The one thing that I can't live without is hope. Really, can you imagine a life without hope? Easter is reminder of hope. I have hope in this life, but greater still, I/we all have hope for the life to come, life after death.
Whether you pray to God in heaven, to a totem pole, or not at all, we all have a faith, and a hope in someone or something. I'm not debating whose right or wrong, but I do think we'd all be wise to take time, and consider the source of our hope.
With Easter comes the subject of Jesus, eggs, chocolate, chickens, clothing and bunnies. Somewhere in it all the hope, meaning, and message of the holiday gets lost. I just wanted to bring it back to the forefront. It's not to late celebrate the holiday, or explore the true meaning of it for yourself.