Friday, August 1, 2014

Like some of our garden plants...our journey requires a daily committment

Happy Friday! It’s been another busy week and I am so happy that it is Friday!  Many of you know that I have rediscovered my love of flower gardening in recent years as I regained my mobility. Being able to work in the yard is one of the joys of my journey, and although it is time consuming and a lot of work, it’s therapeutic and gives me an outlet for some of the stress in life. It’s also rewarding to see the ‘fruits” of my labors when a plant produces beautiful blooms.  God also seems to use my flowers and nature in general to teach me lessons to help me along the way.

I haven’t had a lot of time in the past two weeks to spend in the gardens due to a recent trip out of town, the magazine shoot, a rainy weekend, and some other commitments, so the beds are in need of some serious attention.  Hopefully, I will get an opportunity this weekend to weed, prune, and deadhead so they look their best. 

Yesterday, as I was watering, I noticed my yellow Coreopsis plant, and I couldn’t help but think about my journey to wellness. This particular plant is relatively easy to grow and produces yellow blooms for a very long time throughout the summer. I planted this plant last summer as a small starter perennial and was pleasantly surprised when it bloomed prolifically for several weeks last July. Oftentimes, it takes a year or two for small starter perennials to grow enough to bloom, but not this one. This summer it is nearly triple the size that it was when I planted it.  I love it! 

One of the things I learned about this plant, is that I must dead-head the blooms each day, in order to keep it producing new buds and looking its best. I’m not 100% certain about this, but it seems like the blooms only last one day and then die, but since there are so many buds on the plant, I don’t this for sure. Every day, there are brown, faded flowers amidst the new ones. I do, know, however, that if I deadhead the blooms each day, it will continue to produce more buds and blossom throughout the summer. I typically take a few minutes each day as I feed the fish in my garden pond to pull the faded blooms off the plant. This week, though, it’s been so busy, that I neglected to do so for a couple of days, and, as a result, the plant is full of dying blossoms. This plant takes DAILY attention to look its best and keep blooming. Although it is still very beautiful (and it will be beautiful until frost) it will be much more beautiful if I continually pull off the faded blooms EACH day.   SO MUCH LIKE ME….and YOU….and our journey!  It takes continual effort each day.

Although we certainly need to take time to rest; an occasional ‘day off’; summer vacations; retreats, daytrips, or holidays; I really can’t afford to mentally, emotionally, or physically neglect my journey or commitment to this new life….IF…. I want to continue to bloom at my fullest potential. Certainly we need to be able to incorporate an occasional treat on special occasions and such, but I have found that I can’t do that very often. I have to make a commitment to this journey…..  EVERY….SINGLE…DAY…..or, like that plant, I’ll end up with a lot of dead, faded blooms and I won’t be looking or feeling my best, and it will take a lot more work to get it back on track. My journey…my new “way of living”  not something that I can “do” when the mood strikes; when it’s convenient; when I “feel like it or want to”; but rather, I must commit to eating right, making good choices, biting my tongue when I want to lash out, making time to be active, and spending quiet time each day to reflect, pray, and think. This is why I believe that this is a “way of life” not merely a diet or exercise plan. I will NEVER be able to go back to my old way of thinking, eating, acting….etc. if I want to continue to enjoy this new life that I have been blessed with.  I simply cannot neglect my journey; my commitment if I want to feel and look my best.

With that being said, however, I/we cannot beat ourselves up for ‘having an off day’; feeling out of sorts; enjoying an occasional treat; taking a break; hitting a plateau; or even gaining a few pounds. That coreopsis plant is still beautiful today….in spite of those few faded blooms that need to be address…..just as we are still beautiful....worthwhile….precious in God’s sight…..IN SPITE OF…our weaknesses, flaws, failures, and/or size. In fact, in many cases, those faded, dying blooms turn to seed and provide nourishment for the birds! God can use even those ‘off days” or slip-ups for good!  Certainly it is easier to keep up with work toward our goals each day…to watch our calories and be consistent with our activity….each day, and no doubt, it is more work to “recover” from a gain or “trip off track”…but IT IS NOT A LOST CAUSE.  I’ll spend a little more time this weekend getting the garden back in shape, pulling those weeds and deadheading those faded blossoms, and in a few hours, the plants will look their best.  Likewise, I’ll find time to take a walk and ride my bike, and continue to make the commitment each day….to be the best I can be….EVERY DAY….and not to let any “Gosh, I wish I wouldn’t have……eaten that…did that…said that” or any type of regret discourage me. I hope you don’t either! Now, if I could only LEARN that lesson when I comes to things like dishes, cleaning the garage, keeping up with the mail/magazines, etc. instead of waiting until I have sink full or can’t walk through the garage.   SIGH………..

A daily commitment….. God’s help….and the belief that WE CAN…and WE WILL….change our life….is all we need to bloom and blossom at our fullest potential.  Make good choices today…Pull those dead blooms….allow God to transform your mind and thoughts….Get rid of those negative thoughts and fears that are keeping you from new growth…and keep on believing that WE CAN DO IT!!!  Have a good weekend!