One of my passions is theater. I enjoy a good movie, but I adore the intimacy of a good stage production. For awhile, I lived in a place that still had a dinner theater, and one season, Cactus Flower, a play by Pierre Barillet and Jean-Pierre Gredy, was among the offerings. This dinner theater production boasted Ann Miller. I had the privilege of seeing Ann Miller dance, live, on a table.
Growing up on the west coast, I wasn’t familiar with the phenomenon that is a cactus flower. These days, I live in the desert mountains. There are numerous cacti in the garden, and each year, the flowers bloomed with a passion. This variety lasts only 24 hours, but with the wonders of technology, today’s design saves one for posterity, open to the fullest before it faded away.
As I worked with the cactus flower, I was thinking of how beauty can be found everywhere, even in seemingly unlikely places, such as a dry desert. And even though these moments may be fleeting, they become treasures of the heart, to be retrieved when one is in need of encouragement.
I also thought about regeneration. The flowers may fade, but the cactus remains, steadfast, and then next season once again, it presents its gift of flowers bursting forth in their blaze of glory. The gifts we have to offer may not be as obvious. It may seem they go unnoticed. Or like the cactus flower, perhaps they are few and far between. But there’s also a chance that someone does notice, that it makes a difference to someone, and becomes one of their treasures of the heart.
Finally, if you look, you will see two spent flowers in the design. Not just one flower, but many flowers taking turns, if you will, presenting their gift to the world. And so it is with people. It is not up to just one person, all the time. But we take turns presenting our gifts.
Thank you for listening as I share my thoughts. I am delighted to present my cactus flower with a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, that the earth laughs in flowers. May this be a reminder to us to laugh when we find beauty in unlikely places every day.
I’m sure some of you have had quite enough of the song from Disney’s Frozen. However, I live in a house full of little girls who have not. In fact, they still gather round their princess dolls and act it out. The four-year-old can sing it quite well, in my grandmotherly unbiased opinion.
If I remember correctly, the castle is one of England’s. Another photograph I saw that I wanted to work with, and this is the result.
Thing is, most of the time when I’ve heard the phrase, let it go, it’s in reference to something negative in your life that’s maybe holding you back, something that annoyed you that is best forgotten, along those lines.
To me, this is about a gift that someone was forced to withhold. There is power in those words, as she begins to see what she can do. Makes me wonder what the rest of us might be sitting on, what wonderful creativity we might see if we let it go. Don’t hold it back anymore.
Any Doctor Who fans out there? I named this one “Don’t Blink” in honor of the 10th Doctor and the Weeping Angels.
I borrowed the angel from a photo and after that, started exploring texture. I wanted the angel to look carved so I applied some craquelure. And then put the drop shadow to separate it from the background. The background is distort effect, possibly polar coordinates, plus brick texturizer. I like the bit of greenery there at the bottom, although right now I think it might be growing off the design.
May the angels you encounter be the guardian variety. I met one recently. His name was Christopher.
The photo of the little plant appeared in a Guideposts post on Facebook with the caption, “Don’t Quit, Just Start Over.” It was accompanied by a story of a pastor who was discouraged and asked his young daughter if he should quit. The young girl told her father, “No, just start over.” And apparently those words brought about a change of attitude resulting in new life in the church as well.
I believe that growth is part of life, and learning is part of growth. When I look at the photo of the young plant, I think about how it started from just a seed. I think about how it needs the sun to help it grow, as we need the warmth of love and encouragement from our family and friends. And I think about how the plant will someday need to start over. Leaves will fall and be replaced by new growth. Sometimes we lose things, a dream, a friend, but we move on and find that our lives are reshaped by the ebb and flow of the comings and goings.
It’s okay to grieve the “goings”. It’s okay to make mistakes. When it gets to be too much, it’s okay to reevaluate, make new plans, dream new dreams. Remember to embrace the “comings.” They encourage new growth. Growth leads to all sorts of things.
I like that, don’t quit. Just start over. Here’s to new beginnings, big and small.
Here is the Guideposts story, if you’d like to check it out. https://www.guideposts.org/faith-and-prayer/prayer-stories/persistent-prayer/don-t-quit-just-start-over
The photo was taken several years ago when a storm was approaching. The view from my window held me enraptured, and my trusty cellphone caught the image. I was taking an earth sciences class that included meteorology, and the instructor had encouraged us to look up and study clouds. As if I needed any nudging to skywatch.
The photo hung out in Photoshop for a couple of days. I was so fascinated by the cloud itself, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, besides just look at it. When I located the quote by Sharlot Mabridth Hall on the web, then it became an exercise in the art of using text to complement the image beneath.
I suppose in spite of my fascination with science, I remain the poet at heart, because I love the “flight of fancy” suggested by the quote. Whereas, I could not tell you what type of cloud that is. Storm cloud? I prefer “wondrous winged cloud.” May the poet live on.
The photograph is in fact of a little owl learning to fly. But for all the world, it reminded me of the movie, Baby Steps, with Bill Murray. “Baby steps to the elevator… baby steps to the door… baby steps to the parking lot…” You get the idea.
Today, I put the skates on again. It’s been over a week since I fell in the gravel pit. My shins and my elbow were a little scraped up and bruised. But those have faded now, as has the memory and so there I went. Put the skates on while sitting on the front steps. Even managed to stand up. And then I just stood there. Trying to remember what the coach had said. Coach was inside, cooking dinner. Okay. Bend the knees. Feel the heels, not the toes. Make a T to stand still. I was fixated on the slight slope that led into the street. Could I control my speed? I can barely stand up. Baby steps down the walk, gripping the storm gutter. Are there cars coming? Baby steps back to the porch. Baby steps down the walk, gripping the storm gutter. I really want to learn how to do this.
I don’t remember how, but I navigated the slope into the street, and then I was doing laps. I even cracked a smile a couple of times.
Lesson learned today for me: Once you have the skates on, you gotta keep moving forward.
And, baby steps count.
My favorite part of Easter as a child was dying the eggs. This Easter tradition meant dozens of hard-boiled eggs for a family of seven children. The wax crayon never worked too well for me. But I loved dipping the eggs into the cups lined up on the kitchen table, filled with bright color dyes. I would do half-and-half, dipping one side of the egg in one color, then the other side in another. My older siblings, who understood blending better than I did, could do thirds. And then after the fun of the Easter baskets was over, I had a brightly colored egg for my school lunch bag. Good times.
Easter. Spring. New life. New hope.