Thursday, March 31, 2011

My ways are not your ways

I've been sick this week. The stomach bug was immediately followed by a bad case of spring fever. A sunny day in the 50s is all it takes to get me highly motivated to do something active in the fresh air. So I spent Tuesday cleaning out all my garden beds - raking out all the old leaves and mulch and removing the dead plant growth left from the fall. I really do LOVE yardwork, it feels so good. It's one of my favorite times of year to discover the first little shoots of spring emerging in the garden. It's like FINALLY, proof that spring is here!
To be bright pink peonies!
To be tall red tulips...oops, apparently I forgot to rake out this area!
I also took out some of my garden decor, even though there's no plants to fill in around them yet. I have a soft spot for galvanized steel. (Though mostly off topic, I'll take this opportunity to say I'd even love a galvanized steel/zinc counter top like this.)


Back on subject, I snagged these old tin watering cans for $2 a piece a year or so ago at a yardsale. They look so naked now along my front walk without any tulips soaring beside them or impatiens cozied up around them or a bed of fresh mulch to sit atop. But they symbolize the warm weather so I had to put them out.
In my opinion there's nothing quite as tacky as putting fake flowers outside but for some reason I make the exception with forsythia sprays. Earlier this month I removed the winter greenery and berries from this galvanized bucket and put these on the front stoop.
They are obviously fake now because not a single real forsythia has bloomed yet. I just get so impatient for spring. If the forsythias don't seem on pace to bloom outside in March, I make sure I clip some and force them indoors, like I did this year.
Love how the blue painter's tape contrasts with the yellow blooms. Maybe one day I can be done with painter's tape...
Each season I plant annuals in this old toolbox that greets me at the back door. I "inherited" this treasure from my best friend's mom when I helped her clean out to move, gosh almost 6 years ago! (Going through 4 generations worth of stuff in her basement was a treasure hunt in itself that deserves its own post, for another time.)
Still hanging in there after six years of weathering.
When I was cleaning out the garden I started making a mental list of all the places I could fit another new perennial or two. I really want to do more plant swapping this year so if you've got anything you can spare to share, please do and I'll return the favor! I could use some more shade plants and am especially interested in finding free or cheap coral bells, monkshood, astilbe, corydallis, lily of the valley and hellebores.
Coral Bells have a special place in my heart because they are featured on the china my Nana gave me.
A demitasse cup and saucer from my coralbell china in front of a childhood picture of my Nana.
I love the color of monkshood. Anything else I have this color blooms in spring but this blooms in late summer, a nice contrast to zinnias and dahlias.

I'd take the lovely light fronds of the astilbe flower in whiite or pink.
Corydallis would tuck in nice around rocks like this.
I enjoyed lots of Lily of the Valley at our last place but its like a persnickity old lady and doesn't like to be bothered so didn't even try transferring any. Now I wish I at least tried.
Hellebores would be blossoming now or soon if I had some.
So I'm on cloud nine after being outdoors in the warm sun for hours and dreaming of what my garden will look like in a month or two. Nothing like a little news of a decent snowstorm due Friday to ground me pretty quick. Really??? Snow in April?? Come on! And to add insult to injury it would likely cancel a family day we had planned - a rare occasion. My first instinct was to complain and grumble about the weather but I was quickly reminded of some things I recently read and it put my attitude in perspective.

Isaiah 55:8-12 says, " 'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seeds for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out of my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and acheive the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.' "

So I accept that God, in his infinite wisdom, which he does not need to reveal to me, controls the snow and the timing of spring. Who am I to question what He's up to? How dare I complain as if my thoughts and ways are better than His! But does that mean that I have to like it? Can't I just sulk and let it ruin my weekend?

I'm excited that a friend and I have just begun a study on the subject of joy in the book of Philipians from the Bible. We're using a study guide called Be Joyful by Warren Wiersbe. The introductory chapter overviews the four things that steal our joy - circumstances, people, things, and worry. In contrast it highlights the four attitudes of the mind that a Christian should have to maintain joy. Like most circumstances, the weather is out of my control, so if I rely on it for my happiness I'm going to automatically be miserable much of the time. Wiersbe notes that "The reason many Christians are upset by circumstances is because they do not cultivate 'the single mind'...the attitude of single-hearted devotion to Christ..." Paul, the author of Philipians, was inprisoned with a good chance of being beheaded as the wrote this letter to the church in Philipi. However, he filled the letter with practical advice on how to maintain joy based on his current personal experience. Wiersbe goes on to say, "But his difficult circumstances cannot rob him of his joy because he is not living to enjoy circumstances, he is living to serve Jesus Christ. He is a man with a purpose...He does not look at circumstances in themselves, but rather in relationship to Jesus Christ..."

Now granted, in light of all the difficult circumstances life can throw my way, snow is really not that big of a deal, but the fact is that its something out of my control that is certainly poised to steal my joy. So I must choose to cultivate my single mind and focus on the big picture - my single-hearted devotion to my Savior. In the grand scheme of God's plan for my life and the world, what's one snow day in April? I love how the passage in Isaiah also ends by saying that we will go out in joy, that the mountains and hills will burst into song before us and the trees will clap their hands. It's like yes, God is sending more snow or rain and the mountains, hills and trees will welcome it with joy and clapping because they are getting more water, which will make our eventual spring and summer that much more beautiful.

But I'm still antsy for blossoms so this morning on my way home from an appointment with my friend Naomi at Chromatics Salon, I whizzed past Pete's Oasis, one of my favorite local places to shop for annuals. Out of the corner of my eye I caught a tractor bed full of colorful pansies sitting out front. So I did a quick U-turn and Woo hoo! I came home with these beauties to plant in the toolbox out back...after this darn storm!


JennOveeV said...

I have to say you take some pretty nice photographs. Do you have a professional camera or do any editing? If not, good eye! I like how you have a very distinct style too.

Hailey said...

Thanks Jenn - my camera is only a 3-4 year old Canon PowerShot that happens to have major flash issues and the only editing I do is cropping or red-eye reduction in my 10 year old Kodak camera software! Some day I'd like to get a decent camera and learn photoshop stuff. Add that to my long list of "some day" projects. What do you use for your Etsy photos? I could never focus like that with my camera - impossible literally.

JennOveeV said...

Hey Hailey,

I just found this comment from you. I use a Canon T1i. I got it for Christmas last year. I also edit in photoshop in every picture. I do alot less editing now that I am using natural light. Still your pictures look really nice tho! =)

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