R E D

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There are 1,795 species within the genus of the plant family called Begoniaceae (Wikipedia). They are commonly referred to as begonias. The image above is simply one example of this flowering plant.

Colors, shapes, sizes, leaves, buds, flowers, stems make each begonia unique…rather like people. Whether they are native to the soil where they originally thrived or are imported to a local nursery or store, the beauty of these flowers is in the eye of the beholder.

Certainly there are more grand and complex flowers than the begonia, but few genus’ have as many species. And, each species may produce thousands, if not millions, of the same plant type. Yet, each one is totally unique. Again, I am reminded of all the variations within the species of Homo sapiens.

Although red is not my favorite color, I have owned several red vehicles and find red blossoming flowers to be special. Perhaps red colored cars produce a significant contrast against the background of dull pavement and the abundance of white vehicles. And, it may be that when red blossoms are compared to vivid green leaves and stems they stand out so well.

As Mike Savage, a local Kansas City artist states, “Art is simple. You either like it or you don’t”. The same holds true with flowers, trees, birds, music, clothing, buildings, etc. However, there is one thing which should never be placed in the category of being liked or disliked.

People, as in ethnicity, gender and age.

Color, customs, language, tribe, religion, culture or any other differences should not be liked or disliked, but celebrated for their uniqueness. As long humans strive for peaceful co-existence they can all be red for that matter!

Last Hurrah

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Sometimes photographs don’t need much, if any, commentary. I am fortunate that I follow many talented photographers who provide excellent images and equally titillating commentary. I don’t know if this image even comes close, but I like it (if that counts).

These blossoms may be this year’s last salute to a pleasant summer for us in the Midwestern United States. These Geraniums have bloomed several times, but I think this will be their last until Spring. Hence, the hurrah!

I think sometimes we, as people, reflect the natural environment around us…or could it be the other way around? Either way, I pray Texans will see such beauty again and soon after the flood waters recede.

Summer Floral Elegance

The following photographs are a vivid reminder of God’s elegant handiwork. All are found in our yard. Cheryl planted and nurtured the flowers (I help pull weeds on occasion). So many of you have volumes of beautiful flowers, shrubs and vines for which I offer no competition…just wanted to share the joy of some of nature’s beauty.IMG_7628

Star-gazer lily in the early morning light. Bowed in prayer. Inviting a closer look.IMG_7629Twin Star-gazers vying for position to be the first spoken to as the dew evaporates.IMG_7635Yellow lily of an unknown name to me. Awake for a while, and attentive to my presence.IMG_7632Black-eyed Susans stretching out after a good night’s rest. IMG_7645All mixed up with no particular place to go…simply happy to be alive and well.IMG_7565Purple wildflower choosing to bloom alone, yet wanting to be noticed.032Tulip tree flowers shouting aloud for everyone to see their uniqueness.20150625_194252Rose of Sharon blossoms bursting forth…just one clump of many vying for attention. 5-5-15 011 Vinca pinwheel-shaped flower and lush green vines. Simple, yet astounding.

Flourish

ClematisFlourish: To be in a vigorous state; to thrive; to grow luxuriantly.

For those of you who are flourishing at this stage of life, I sincerely hope you will continue to do so, as this is the most wonderful place to be.

For those who are currently not flourishing, please take a deep breath and begin to rediscover those things in your life which promote thriving. Surround yourself with others who live vigorously, as they will embolden you. Be inspired.

And, for those who feel they may never flourish again, you must not lose hope. Recall a time (or times) when you have flourished in the past. These remembrances will encourage you. If you cannot recall a time then imagine what it would feel like to thrive. Dreaming is healthy. Also, tap into the Source of all that flourishes to ignite this flame within your heart and soul. But be patient, as flourishing is a process which takes time and requires a certain amount of effort. Strive to focus on those things which are most pleasant and lovely such as this Clematis plant bursting with spring colors. Although taken with my cell phone, the beauty of these blossoms is not diminished.

It’s Never Too Late For Lilacs

??????????When I was a child, my mother shared a tradition with my two sisters and me which continues to serve-up fond memories at this time of year. Mom was from the country formerly called Yugoslavia.

Every May Day (May 1st) was a day of celebrating the end of a long winter, the promise of a fruitful summer, and a pinch of kindness. The act of kindness which our mother taught us involved flowers and anonymity! The flowers were usually lilacs because our home was blessed with a row of bountiful lilac bushes. These bushes often produced bumper crops of the largest, most colorful, and fragrant lilac blossoms I have ever seen. Simply to view them from afar and catch a whiff of their scent was pure joy.

Rather than call our sharing of these wonderful blossoms a random act of kindness, it was actually a deliberate act of kindness. Randomness has no place in my way of relating to kindness…either you are kind and perform acts of kindness on purpose or you don’t. Simple, but that’s how I see it.

This particular act of kindness went something like this; we made construction paper baskets with paper handles. The colored construction paper was decorated with warm messages and the best child drawings we could create. Mom would encourage us, but left the designs to us. The ‘baskets’ were shaped into a curve to hold the flowers. We would select the biggest and most colorful blossoms, clip them from the bushes and fill our baskets to the brim. Sometimes we would make three or four baskets each.

Next, we would give serious consideration as to whom would receive our treasures. This took some effort as we graded our neighbors based on their kindness, perceived need, whether they received a basket the previous year, and so on. Again, mom would offer her input, but left the final decisions to us.

Then came the exciting part. We would stealthily walk the neighborhood, hiding behind cars, trees and bushes until it was time to strike. I shudder to think what would happen to us if we did such a thing in today’s culture of fear. Back then we were free. When we thought the ‘coast was clear’ we would run to the front door, hang the basket on the door knob, ring the bell and scurry to hide…and wait…and watch.

The anticipation of waiting for the door to open was exciting. As the lady of the house opened the door she would look around for someone. Upon seeing no person, she would notice the basket of fresh blossoms, take them from the door, glance around once more and then retreat inside. The smiles on the recipient’s faces was worth every ounce of energy and time spent on creating these gifts.

The simple joy of blessing someone anonymously still warms my heart and brings a smile to my face, too. Mom knew something wonderful and chose to share it with her children: giving is far greater than receiving. And, for that eternal truth, I and my sisters are forever grateful. Thanks mom for teaching us how to give without expecting something in return, except for the satisfaction of ‘making someone’s day’ !

P.S. I posted a photo of Tulips because Lilacs haven’t bloomed yet. It’s not what is given that really matters as much as why and how the gift is offered.