these new things

I have suddenly discovered a macro lens that I bought a year ago.  I have also very recently discovered the difference between shooting JPEG or raw images.  Hence the sudden daily dose of pictures.

Both macro lens and raw images are growing on me.  So are these mauve and purple flowers.

I recently heard another florist say that she likes to take her cue for the colors in her bouquet from the colors found in one flower.  I thought it pretty neat that this particular mix has echoing colors all over the place.  And no, it wasn't a well organized planting orchestration.  I have no idea where the iris came from.  The verbascum we picked up at random on a nursery run last year, the peony is a first year volunteer, and the sundrops are finally blooming after two or three years of indecision.

The beauty (and excitement) of seasonal flowers is that you never know what combination you'll be able to pull together.


in the time of spring

What more lovely thing is there than a beautiful spring day?  A beautiful spring day full of strawberries.  Strawberries and kefir for breakfast.  Strawberries and cream for a mid morning snack.  Strawberry shortcake, strawberry pie.

But the best strawberries are the ones just picked and still sun-warm.

I have one goal for this strawberry season.  Eat myself silly on strawberries.


thoughts begun in a church member's meeting

Our church had a member's meeting this evening, and a lot of thoughts were aired.  At one point, someone delicately suggested that some of the young ladies might have something to say.  'Young ladies' as in the friend beside me and myself.  The single ladies.  Lisa did have something to say, and she said it, while I sat there like a lump on a log.  There were plenty of things bumping around in my head, but I couldn't string them together into coherent thoughts.  Then I came home and decided there might still be time to gather in unruly thoughts and say something.

We were asked at one point, by a courageous bishop, what our frustrations are.  I echo what someone else said.  My frustrations are with myself.

I've been thinking recently how easy it is for me to judge others by the condition of my own heart.  How wrong that is!  It's also easy to make doctrine out of my own experience and think everyone else should get to know God in the same way I do.  Again, flawed thinking.  I confess that sometimes I'm pretty free with unsolicited opinions about how others should live.  But recently, I benefited from a dose of unsolicited advice given by someone whose life experience was vastly different than my own.  It didn't feel very good.  That made me think long and hard about how I need to change.

The grace I want, is the grace I should first learn to extend to everyone around me.  I thought of this little bit of free verse I wrote a while back.  I want to learn to be truly compassionate.


One must bring all
Of one's self
To service.
The failures
And triumphs,
These shouts of joy
Or deep groans signaling grief,
The breathing,
Organic truth of us.
For it is this humanity which
Fosters in us a compassion
For those most needing
A Savior.

Those who live next to
The consciousness of their
Yet assured of Love,
Are by their knowledge
Made tender,
To allow the
Grace of God
To flow from them
In wide, cleansing streams.

That is my prayer for myself and all of us here at Antrim Mennonite Church.


a new adventure

Last spring I posted a few pictures of peonies and mentioned that, come the middle of May, I'm quite willing to shell out the money for a thousand peonies.

Well, last fall we did buy forty-five of them.  Not quite a thousand, but at least a Beginning.  That wasn't enough work to break our backs, so we planted a hundred parrot tulips.  Just recently we bought a very large quantity of gladiola corms and a few dahlia tubers.  But that's still not the worst of it.  We also collected around six thousand seeds to plant.  Seeds for all sorts of flowers and herbs:  perennials, biennials, and annuals.

It sounds like we went crazy.

Most of the time I know we are more than a little crazy.  At the same time, it's been a lot of fun to dream and plan and reach for impossible things.  Because, after all, we only have one life to live.  Why not take risks and learn new things?

So, what will we do with all these flowers?  Providing the deer don't find and chew on them, we're planning to take some to market again this year.  We have a few weddings this spring and summer and are hoping that instead of chemical laden flowers flown in from Ecuador, we can offer our clients some fresh, local grown beauties instead.  And of course, we're always willing to put a bouquet together for any special or ordinary occasion.

Altogether, it's shaping up to be a Very Busy Year filled with Much Hard Work.



Sometimes it's a troubling thing to slip back into blogging when you've been on an impromptu hiatus for four months.  (Four months!)  Your unpublished drafts tend to pile up.  You might think of something you want to say, but it turns to rubbish when you try to say it.  You get positively rusty, and you think your brain really is filling up with fluff, once and for all.

So you turn back to your gardening books, because that's what's really pulling your interest these days.  What is the best soil mix for starting seeds?  Where should the foxglove be planted?  How many zinnia seeds does a person need?  What does it take to make great compost?  That's what fills your brain from sun-up to sun-down, and then some.

Then you eventually decide your brain might not be entirely comprised of fluff.  Maybe it's the unstoppable gardening thoughts that make your head feel like mush.  Maybe it just takes time and you have to slide back into writing sideways.


another August wedding

Several weeks ago, my sister and I put together some bouquets for a wedding reception held in a barn.  The barn was gorgeous and it was so much fun working in such a beautiful place.

I forgot to get pictures of the bride and bridesmaids' bouquets (sigh), but I did remember the boutonnieres and corsages.  I prefer to use something other than a flower for boutonnieres, so I was pretty happy with these.

The mother's corsages were pretty simple, too.

Here are a few shots of the reception.  I forgot my tripod (what didn't I forget?!) so these pictures aren't the greatest quality.

The bride's sisters are pretty talented.  They hand-lettered all the table numbers.

This was the first time either LaRonda or I worked with anemone.  It's not anemone season, so the flowers we got were in far less than excellent condition.  But we managed, and we learned a few things for next time.

The apple branch bouquets were LaRonda's idea and I love how they turned out.

Best wishes to the happy couple, Cris and Laurie!