It’s an old saying, “Stop and Smell the Roses”! I realized recently that not only is it important to stop, it is even more important to notice that there are roses to smell in the first place. Let me explain.
This time of year I spend a bit more time on my road bike. My sisters and I train to do the “Tri for the Cure” relay each year. My designated contribution to this cause is to ride my road bike for 12 miles. Not a far distance but something I just can’t do without a little practice. I hop on my bike, place my earbuds in my right ear ( so I can still hear cars on the left), and I ride several times a week. There is one particular hill that is a challenge for me and I put my head down and focus on pedaling ,usually timed with a great Bon Jovi song to help me make it to the top. I never look to either side of me in my determination to get to the top of this hill without stopping. Last week I had to take my son to a new practice field for baseball and as I was driving along this familiar road, I see a beautiful garden filled with shasta daisies , daylillies, and roses. I started laughing, thinking about the many times I have passed this same garden but was so focused on getting to the top of the hill I never realized the beauty that was off to the right of my vision. Not only did I not stop to smell those beautiful roses, I never saw those roses.
Sound familiar? I thought a lot about that this past week and it made me reevaluate how I prepare for things. I see myself as a determined person. Raising four kids, loving my husband of 26 years, and working in ministry does not give me a lot of free time. I was astounded that I had missed the garden because I love flowers so much. I could see myself doing this in other areas of my life and God pointed that out to me in seeing this garden that had gone unnoticed before. Do you ever have such focus that all that surrounds you becomes a blur?
I have a new perspective as I begin yet another school year with my kids and a new calendar year with ministry. Yes, there is always a lot to get done, but I don’t want to miss the “beautiful gardens” along the way. My encouragement to you this week and in the months to come would be to actually see those “flowers” in your life in the first place so that you can take the time to stop and soak in the beauty and sites and smells that are your everyday life !
Spring has sprung ! The daffodils are blooming all over town. When I think of the spring season, I always think of daffodils. The air smells different to me this time of year. The birds sing loudly in the morning. The sun stays up a wee bit longer in the evening. I start wanting to wear pastel colored sweaters as I eagerly await our annual Spring Break trip to Mexico. I love celebrating Easter and I eat way too many jellybeans. It feels good to let the sun shine on your face after a long hard winter, doesn’t it? Spring is full of hope !
Springtime in Colorado can be a little unpredictable and that is why I love Daffodils ! Let me explain…. This is how daffodils grow in Colorado…. It will be a beautiful spring day and the daffodils are all abloom and glorious in their bright shiny yellow splendor and yes, you guessed it, a big snow storm will come and just bury them. You can’t see them at all. But you know what, in a few days, the snow begins to melt away and those little daffodils begin to poke their way through the snow. They stand tall and they keep blooming. Daffodils are the most hardy of spring bulbs. Now if we use this analogy for life, it holds a lot of truth. I would like to be like the daffodil who continues to bloom in the spring even when a snowstorm is determined to bury it. Have you ever felt that way? You are just coasting along in your springtime and WHAM out of nowhere you are hit with winter. A loss of a job, a devastating diagnosis, a death of a loved one. I am sure most of us can think of a time in our lives where we have felt like the little yellow flower just trying to survive the storm.
A master gardner once told me never to cut back the green stems of the daffodils once they have bloomed. Let them die naturally. Through the beauty of photosynthesis the green part of the plant absorbs the sun and stores vital nutrients which allow the plant to survive the heat of the summer, the chill of autumn, and the freezing temperatures of winter. How well you feed the plant in the spring determines how well the bulb survives the following year.
The same principal holds true for us. If you find yourself in a routine time in your life, coasting, things going well, I encourage you to take this time to feed yourself. Seek God first, Seek Him in extended stillness and solitude, Nurture your spiritual growth through God’s word. Rejoice in the springtimes of life. Store up the “nutrients” so that you too can be like the daffodil determined to bloom even if the winter wind blows.
” Springtime is when you feel like whistling even when your shoe is full of slush”- author unknown