Random Acts of "Kindness"

Posts tagged ‘flowers’

INVITATION CRABAPPLES

By know you know that I enjoy Chicago’s Botanic Garden for many reasons. I don’t have the space, time or energy to maintain a lovely garden myself but I LOVE flowers. I totally enjoy walking the paths, listening to the rushing water on the waterfalls or fountains, and watching as the seasons change.

I try to get to the garden in time for the daffodils. This year I didn’t make it. I ALWAYS try to visit when the crabapples are in bloom. My first visit this year, they were trees in waiting. I totally enjoyed a huge magnolia tree. The Japanese cherry trees were in full bloom as well as the rhododendron in the Japanese Garden. I totally enjoyed the day, took many photos and hoped to return when the crabapples were in bloom.

Just ONE week later, I received an invitation, the crabapples were in bloom. I didn’t hesitate. The next day, sunny but cool found me back in the Garden. This time I arrived earlier, before the bells chimed twelve. This time, once again I found a parking spot in the closest parking lot. THANK YOU!

It is my practice to check out the salads and other food on the menu before I wander the paths. I noticed a key lime tart. I knew it wouldn’t be available when I finished my walk. I decided it needed to accompany me. I wasn’t hungry, but I LOVE key lime pie. It became the second photo I took that day. It wandered with me until I reached the waterfalls. Sitting on a bench — in the sunshine — listening to the rushing water, I totally enjoyed the tart.

The magnolia tree had lost its flowers, the Japanese cherry trees were no longer in bloom, I debated walking the Japanese Garden. I was happy that I did — azalea’s were in bloom, the Japanese retreat house was open, as well as quite a few crabapple trees. I didn’t count the number of photos I took at the Garden. I’m sure it was well over 100. Besides the crabapple trees, I have a photo of two turtles sunning on a couple of rocks. (I overheard a father pointing them out to his son.) I also have a photo of a mother robin feeding her chicks in a nest.

This time I wandered to the island, enjoying the crabapples in bloom in the lanes. White and pink trees were laden with blooms. The red blossoms were still waiting. I noticed a white crabapple tree so full of blossoms that the branches were hidden. A tram passed as I admired the tree. The driver told her group it was a weeping white crabapple. Her favorite tree in the Garden.

Stopping for a salad before leaving, it was a perfect day!

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BASKETS

Thankfully I have “FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES.” I really don’t have a special reason for saying that. I often recognize their help. Recent examples — our sons shirts missing, causing him to stay home and miss Robin’s quest — my parking place at the Garden. The title of this ramble more or less says it all.

I recently recognized what “my elephant in the room” was. Last Fall, the money that supplements our health insurance from my husband’s company ended. I knew it was running out, but wasn’t aware of the time. At the same time, my husband entered the GAP for his prescriptions. Because of kidney damage, one of my husband’s pills is EXTREMELY HIGH!

I wasn’t prepared. This year our health insurance has gone up too. To say that I’m being careful would be an understatement. I just wasn’t aware of what was causing my anxiety.

What does that have to do with baskets you might ask. Since we spend a good part of our summer at the camper, I wasn’t sure how many hanging baskets or flowers I wanted to buy for the city. I saw the prices for hanging baskets and wasn’t impressed — $21. I usually buy at least four or five. I can easily see them, and not have to get down on the ground to plant them. Wal-Mart had baskets at $12 but they didn’t look that great. Four at $12 a piece was more money than I wanted to spend.

THANKFULLY I HAVE FRIENDS. I had already been shopping for food at another store, but I decided to stop at Aldi’s to see if they had any flowers. I didn’t take in a cart because I wasn’t planning on grocery shopping. I found hanging baskets marked down in price to $3 a piece. They looked very sad but I found three begonias that I thought would survive. Begonias like the shade, which is mostly what our yard has. The rest of the hanging baskets were filled with sun loving plants. Yard didn’t look quite as sad.

The next day, I attended the Mass of a friend. She was well known and the Mass was packed! I had taken our car to church instead of walking. Parking had been impossible — street cleaning, construction and the funeral combined. Walking back to our car, I remembered that our son said we needed bleach. I decided to go to the Aldi’s in our neighborhood. I FOUND a beautiful hanging geranium plant for $10. MINE! And it was the last one. When I placed the hanging baskets in our yard the previous day, I remembered that we always had a geranium basket hanging when we first entered. Thankfully, now we had one this year as well!

DAILY HELP

If you read my thought rambles on a regular basis you know a few things about me. First, you know that I am aware of “friends in high places” who help me with my life. Not a day goes by that I don’t notice their involvement if I am paying attention. Second, I have mentioned many times that I neither see nor hear them. Their messages get through in many different ways. I randomly open the bible each morning — eyes closed, pick a verse. I’ll admit that I’m not pleased when I open to Job, or to Daniel “in the furnace”. That usually means that there is trouble ahead or that I’m experiencing difficulties at the moment. Sometimes I open to one of the verses that remind me I have a job to do. Isaiah 42: “Here is my servant whom I uphold.” I don’t memorize verses so I can’t quote others that pop up regularly . But “Whom shall I send” or “I’ve known you before you were born,” are often in my sight. They usually are reminders that I have work to do, a thought ramble to write or — pay attention, someone needs your help.

My second book of the morning is Queen Of Angels by Janice T. Connell. I don’t remember the year I acquired it, it was after my father passed over. I attended a book signing at Transitions, met the author, listened to her stories and bought the book. I am often reminded that I am doing too much: “Cure For Overwork, or Suffering Turned to Joy — hello pain. Sometimes I’m reminded that I have “help”. “Angels Turned to Playmates and Confidants.”

My third practice of the morning is to open my Inner Reflections calendar randomly. It is comprised of 52 photographs with writing by Paramahansa Yogananda, a spiritual teacher of the 20th century. I also first acquired the calendar at Transitions and even though the store is closed, I regularly order a new calendar each year. Looking through it, I was amazed at the number of times I have opened to different photos with their words of wisdom. I always date the photo on the day it is picked. Some have many dates noted, others have only one or two.

Just for the fun of it I have just finished flipping through the calendar and noting the number of times I have visited each page. Of 52 photographs I have visited 14 photos a number of 214 times. I have many favorites, but I can state that they are not usually the ones I pick for the day. The highest total was 28, the day after my mother’s birthday. It is a photo of a glasswinged butterfly on oleander flowers. The message is: “Love only what is beautiful and pure … See, hear, smell, taste, and touch only what is good …..” Most of the messages revolve around LOVE or follow the path or helping others.

REMEMBER

Life is so busy, that it is very easy to forget things that have happened in my life. For the most part, I remember important stuff — MAYBE. As I wrote the last sentence I was reminded that I just forgot our anniversary. I wasn’t the only one. My husband did too. But I try to remember birthdays, and holidays.

This morning, I opened my Queen of Angels book to a holy card — St. Theresa. The number of people in my life that are battling cancer has increased — they are in my daily prayers. At the moment I couldn’t think of a special intention that I hadn’t been praying for. The state of our world is in my DAILY prayers. Then I remembered when I received a rose on the front porch — it had me confused! When I think of it, it still has me confused. I wrote the story in Journey With Me — ROSES WITH THE MORNING PAPER.

Remembering Journey — the reason I wrote the stories in the book was because my friend’s son asked me how I had become so aware. Could I teach him? Evidently I’m still trying to help people become aware.

I hope my experiences help you to notice the “help” you receive from the other side. I often remember the big things that happen in my life. I don’t always remember the little things. I try VERY HARD not to remember the hurtful stuff — sometimes that is harder to do.

I have read that many times one thing that occurred in the life of a saint, fed the rest of their life. Many things occur in my life, THANKFULLY — because I’m not like the saints. It seems that I need constant “help” or reassurance that what I’m doing is important. Or I need a constant supply of ideas to write about.

When I’m writing something that the editors do not like, and they interfere with the saving of the ramble it gets my attention. When I’ve taken a break from writing and the waters in my life become stormy, it gets my attention. Since I like peace, and calm waters, I try very hard to keep a steady flow of thought rambles ready to publish.

And I’m often reminded of Abraham — God’s promise to him. Why this promise is important to me, I have no idea. I’m sure time will tell.

Since Christmas is just around the corner, I wish you joy and happiness. I wish you health. I wish that we will have a world that is safe for not only us but our children, and future generations. I wish we will have clean air to breath and clean water to drink. There are times when it feels like the world is going in the wrong direction but I’m hopeful it will change.

WEEDING

WEEDING

We have camped at the same place for over 40 years. During that time many people have passed through our lives. As I wandered on my scooter for the last ride of the season, I visited many of the campsites where the people I have known have either gone on to the other side or have sold out to visit other venues. Sadly each year the list grows, but I have enjoyed the time spent with them. I know people who have sold because their friends are no longer there. Thankfully we are not dependant on others to remain camping.

Back in the city on a lovely Fall day, I wandered to the Garden. Once again I was lost in time. Remembering all the places I have visited — some with my daughters. I thought of one of my aunt’s that had passed over and regretted that we had never wandered the Gardens together. Was I a member of the Garden then?

Still in the city, on another lovely Fall day we wandered to Lincoln Park zoo. We didn’t know that the weekend was Fall festival. They had many rides for the children. I was sorry that we didn’t have any of our grandchildren with us. At the same time, I was glad — we wouldn’t have had the money for all of their rides. Watching the polar bear play in the water I remembered when my grandson at the tender age of 2, was delighted when the polar bear at the time came up to window to visit with him. Lincoln Park is a small zoo, I visited there as a child and enjoy it, possibly even more, as an adult.

It is hard catching up when we close the trailer for the season. I have to find homes for all the food and stuff we brought home with us. The mail goes on forever. In fact — I still haven’t gotten to the bottom of the pile. The pile might be for higher than from our most recent trip. It might have stuff accumulated from all summer.

Then there is the food supply. Stuff that I thought was on hand is gone! I looked all over the freezer for catfish fillets that I knew we had. I found two pieces. Not enough for the three of us. Recently I was remembering some of the unusual stuff that has occurred in my life. And remembering that my life has quieted down. OR HAS IT? This morning I received a message from my husband’s sister. Her husband passed a few weeks ago. When I went to look for the message — it wasn’t there. Instead I saw her beautiful picture on the center of the page. I wrote a note back that the message was undelivered. The top of the page said “secret.” I noticed that the first letter of every word in the sentence was capitalized. I was confused. Was I receiving “Help?” Who? Was someone teaching her husband tricks?

Since I didn’t know if the “secret” message reached her, I wrote another message explaining that I was confused. Later that day, I had an avalanche in my freezer. As I put back all the fallen food — I saw an unopened package of catfish fillets. Last night, I used up the bottle of sesame oil when I was cooking. I put the item on my shopping list. Before going to the store, I went to retrieve an item from the shelves in the basement and found TWO unopened bottles of sesame oil. Did I think my life has quieted down? Nope! It just goes in different directions.

GARDEN

In the city, BEAUTIFUL FALL DAY — blue skies, sunshine, very windy. I went to the Garden. Thankfully I brought the hat my oldest daughter bought for me in Florida. It has a ties that can keep the hat on when the wind blows. I would have lost the hat at least three times. I almost did when I put it back on and forgot to tie it under my chin.

When I left the house, the temperature was in the low 60’s. I wasn’t sure how warm it would be at the Garden so I wore a long sleeve shirt and a hooded vest. Then I tied my jacket around my waist. I had to laugh when I saw my shadow. In fact, it was so silly that I had to take a photo of the strange person walking ahead of me.

It was late in the year but many flowers were in bloom. I LOVE the roses. When I first entered the Garden, a white rose was high lighted. It had a lovely fragrance. And a lovely name — MOONDANCE. I wander the Garden with camera in hand. I must admit that I probably take the same pictures each time I go. That morning, the sunshine on a bush made the leaves look like silver. A closer inspection revealed that the leaves were really green, no silver any where.

I usually follow the same route when I visit. I arrived just as the bells rang out the hour of noon. This time I decided to be good to my knees. I sat down three different times during the ramble. Each time I decided to sit, I paid attention to the wind and picked a sheltered area. I also made sure that I would be able to get back up. The first time, I looked at a sheltered brick open building but decided to sit on a bench and enjoy the fountain and white mums instead. Soon after I sat down, a dad and his little girl wandered to the space. Perfect place for her to play and good photo opportunities. I was glad I picked the bench.

I wandered down a lane that is full of flowers on both sides. In the spring, tulips and poppies hold court. They are replaced by an assortment of summer — fall varieties. They are the favorite hangout of hummingbirds and photographers. A woman stood at the ready, camera in hand. I asked if hummingbirds were still at the Garden. She replied that they had left but she was on the lookout for Monarch butterflies. She had a bigger camera than mine. When I felt the weight, I was very glad that my camera is SMALL and LIGHT. Her camera was a retirement present to herself. She has tremors in her hand and the speed of the camera keeps the tremors from showing.

The waterfall was still flowing. Another opportunity to sit and listen to the falling, singing water. I wandered to the island just as the bells rang the one o’clock hour. I thought I saw mountain mint, it smelled like mountain mint, but I was surprised when the sign read Russian Sage. If I remember, I would like to get a plant or two for our garden in the country.

After stopping for lunch in the cafe, I left the Garden as the bells chimed two o’clock. I was very surprised — my knees DID NOT hurt. I was also very surprised when I learned that I had walked over 12,262 steps.

IN THE GENES

I know that genetics is important for health issues. Many diseases can be traced through the family line. It is harder for people who have been adopted and don’t know their parents or other relatives. It is not only hair color, bone structure and height that are shared. Diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure are just a few diseases that are passed down.

Emphasis is being placed on nationality — not only in humans but also in dogs. People are very interested in the countries that make up their nationality. This interest has expanded to animals. Sunday a program was on television that shared the breeds that where discovered in a few dogs from DNA testing. Especially when a dog is a rescue — the animal’s breed can influence their behavior. Science is progressing.

Physical traits are easier to track. Harder to pinpoint are talents — singing, painting and dance to name a few. On my fathers side, I have discovered a couple of painters. There was a strong interest in religion — my great grandfather was a minister. He was also very interested in herbs. That explains some of my interests. I don’t know as much about my mother’s side except there is at least one successful writer. I have heard that I share some of her traits — what they are I have no idea.

Just because a trait is in your genes doesn’t mean that it will surface especially when it comes to a talent, if it is a disease — life style changes can make a difference. Heart disease is on both my mother’s and my father’s side. Since I am sodium restricted — I watch the sodium content of the food I eat as best as I can. Therefore I eat a lot of fresh vegetables. I no longer eat a lot of processed foods. It would be lovely if I said I keep my weight down — but I try not to lie, I have a LONG way to go.

When I was forty, I discovered I could paint. I totally enjoyed putting paint on canvas for many years until life intervened. Recently I have been pestered to take up a paint brush again. I used to paint in oil but now my husband has emphysema. I’m planning to try acrylics — the different textures has me confused at the moment. Some of the paint is more liquid, similar to water color. Some is more solid, similar to oil. Both are supposed to dry quickly. Oil takes days to dry.

I had an idea to paint the flowers in our garden at the camper. I ran out of time and we came back home. I took a photo before we left. It might turn into a painting. Time will tell.

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