I recently started a new series to encourage me to 1) put a little more effort into my photography again, and 2) notice and acknowledge some of the many wonderful things that are all around me on a regular basis. Each month, I’m challenging myself to take at least five pictures of beauty, as well as document five specific experiences or things that have brought me delight, pleasure, or joy. To see past editions of the series, click HERE.
In a book I just finished (The Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg), it says: “There is a story about a Navajo grandfather who once told his grandson, ‘Two wolves live inside me. One is the bad wolf, full of greed and laziness, full of anger and jealousy and regret. The other is the good wolf, full of joy and compassion and willingness and a great love for the world. All the time, these wolves are fighting inside me.’ ‘But grandfather,’ the boy said. ‘Which wolf will win?’ The grandfather answered, ‘The one I feed.'”
With this series, I’m trying to feed the wolf that I want to win.
Note: There are affiliate links to books mentioned in this post.
i. spiritual refreshment
April is often a time of spiritual rejuvenation, between the arrival of spring, the celebration of Easter Sunday, and the chance for people of my faith to listen to the worldwide leaders of our church speak to us at something we call General Conference.
There were so many thoughts I loved hearing at General Conference, but I’ll share just one today about the importance of keeping spiritual momentum and moving forward when it comes to living our faith and following Jesus Christ:
“Just as forward momentum keeps a bicycle balanced and upright, moving forward helps an aircraft overcome the pull of gravity and drag.
What does this mean for us as disciples of Jesus Christ? It means that if we want to find balance in life, and if we want the Savior to lift us heavenward, then our commitment to Him and His gospel can’t be casual or occasional. Like the widow at Jerusalem [who threw just two mites into the treasury], we must offer Him our whole souls. Our offering may be small, but it must come from our heart and soul.
Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is not just one of many things we do. The Savior is the motivating power behind all that we do. He is not a rest stop in our journey. He is not a scenic byway or even a major landmark. He is “the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by [Jesus Christ].” That is the Way and our ultimate destination.”
I have been uplifted daily as I’ve been studying the talks from this month’s General Conference again. If you’re interested in reading a few yourself, you can find those HERE.
ii. the arrival of spring blooms
For me, my flower farming season starts LONG before I ever have any blooms to harvest. In fact, if I’m to have any flowers to harvest at all in the beginning of spring, it means I had to plant the bulbs the previous autumn.
Sometimes that period of long waiting between work and reward can be difficult and frustrating. I’ve been putting in hours and hours every day for months to sow and water seedlings, transplant things out when they’re ready, prep the ground, and so much more. There are definitely days when I don’t feel like doing it all, but I have to push myself through and do it anyway in order to have flowers on the other side.
Once I actually have blooms to harvest and share with others, it makes all the other work a lot easier to do, just because I’m also getting the rush and pleasure of the final payoff that I’m working toward. It’s been so much fun to have bouquets to sell to people again, and we’ve already given away our first pay-it-forward bouquet of the season, as well.
Also, the bulbs I picked out last fall for this spring’s arrangements have, by and large, been absolutely beautiful so far. I’m overall really pleased with what I’m seeing (although you’d better believe that I doubled my fall bulb order for next spring, ha ha!).
iii. making time for memories
Spring is by far the craziest season with the flower farm. I always have a mile-long to-do list, and I’m always behind. I know that things will slow down a bit in about late May and early June, when the first succession of everything we’re growing has been planted out, but it’s definitely a race against the clock each day until then.
However, we’ve been trying to make sure we intentionally make time to make memories together as a family too, even with the busy-ness of the season.
For the past couple years, we’ve dropped the ball on dyeing Easter eggs. For the past two years, I actually even remembered to buy the dye kit, but we just never used it.
This year, I was determined that we would make it happen, and the kids LOVED it. Everyone was involved, everyone was enjoying the process, and everyone has enjoyed making our favorite recipe for creamed eggs on toast over and over again to use up the finished product 🙂
While the kids are pretty involved with helping out with a lot of flower farming work, it’s also been good to remind ourselves that it’s okay to take time off for play, too.
iv. finding community
We moved here at the end of 2020, and it was a HARD time to move to a totally new place. We knew no one, and with all the social distancing measures in place, it was pretty impossible to form any sense of community for a very, very long time. Even when things started opening up again, it was still hard at the beginning because we were past that “hey, we’re new!” stage when people are most likely to go out of their way to make you feel welcome.
However, as time has gone on, we’ve slowly been building up more and more a sense of community in our new town, and it’s been wonderful. I’m especially thankful that our children are making close friends.
One day this month, Matt got off work early so we could take the kids to the nearby park. When we got there, Raven saw one of her classmates there with several siblings, and everyone immediately joined together for a huge game of lava tag (where the person who was “it” had to be in the “lava” (aka, wood chips) and try to tag people on the playground). Even Matt joined in with gusto, to the delight of all the kids (I was watching Hyrum play in another section of the playground and taking pictures).
It was one of the first times I felt like we really belonged here, and that I could finally (finally!) see myself staying here long-term.
Back when I got COVID in January, I was unable to take ibuprofen or most medication that would have helped my symptoms due to my pregnancy, which made the whole experience even worse.
Last month, I got a strain of the flu that lasted nearly three weeks. Since I was no longer pregnant (having miscarried in February), I was able to take ibuprofen and Mucinex to help me manage symptoms. And even though it didn’t seem to cut down much on the duration of the sickness, being able to take stronger medicine made a WORLD of difference in how I was able to function from day to day.
You have no idea how grateful I felt every time I was able to pop some ibuprofen every time my body started aching from the flu or I got severe headaches. I am so thankful for it!
Okay, now it’s your turn — drop a comment below and share five things you’ve been especially appreciating lately!