Friday, January 25, 2013

A Flower Prayer for Healing and Reconciliation

I am a member of the Worship Committee at my church and, like all churches with many different people who come together for a few hours each week to worship, along with all of the good things, like fellowship and spiritual support, we also have our share of strife and struggle.  It seems as though we are finally coming out of a particularly rough time of it and this Sunday is our congregational meeting which has been dubbed a service for "Healing and Reconciliation."  Along with that, the budget will be reviewed and new lay leaders and officers will be elected into various leadership roles for the church.

In any case, as a member of the Worship Committee, I was charged with the task of coming up with table centerpieces that would convey the spirit of the day--healing and reconciliation.  Even though it's January, it seems as though life has not slowed down for me. So, it has just been in the last few days that thinking about these centerpieces has taken a forefront in the onslaught of activity and chores on my "to-do" list.

In my eighteen years as a devoted member of this church, I feel as though I've seen, heard and done a lot of things, along with so many others who I know have worked, most certainly, a lot harder than me at keeping  it's doors open.  Thus, we as a congregation will come to church this Sunday morning having weathered the ongoing growing pains of faith and community alike as we look forward to hopefully, an ongoing bright future.  Along with that, this is a good-sized congregation meaning that there are a lot of tables that will need centerpieces.

What shall I do?!?  Out came my books on the language of flowers so that I could somehow convey a message of what, I think, we as a congregation, are looking for as we worship together and then come to an understanding of what lays before us in the year of 2013 and beyond--In flowers, no less!  I looked out into the snow covered and very asleep herb garden to see what may be peeking out of the cozy white blanket enveloping it and sighed.

In the end, with the help of a few stalwart herbs from the garden, dried flowers from this past summer and Micheal's Craft Store, I gathered assorted greenery that may, or not, help us to reflect upon as we discuss future plans, make hard budgetary decisions, elect some new leaders and, at the same time, hopefully look with optimism toward the future.  If anything, these petite tussy-mussy style bouquets will smell good!

Yarrow = HEALING
Rosemary and lavender = DEVOTION
Creamy colored roses = UNITY
Myrtle = PEACE

While gathering all of this greenery, I came to realize that, like them, our congregation may look a little weathered, in spite of it all. Yet, in the end, we are a resilient group of open and welcoming people and we will be around to see many, many more years in the life of this church. I really do find this to be a prayer and, I hope that my congregation and clergy alike, will find it within our hearts to come to a meeting of the minds, learn from our mistakes, celebrate our achievements and above all, listen for God's word.  Yes, the gathering of these flowers and greenery really is a prayer for my church.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January Flower Fix

Mist and fog, go away! Come again another day!  January, with it's cold, cloudy and raw days, has it's colorless claws firmly entrenched in this new year and even the much needed precipitation falling last night and today, cannot make up for what seems to be an endless, claustrophobic tunnel of gray mist.  What happened to the sun?  Shouldn't it be rising over this dark tangle of tree bark and branches?  I am trying to be patient. Here in northern Virginia, the weather forecasters keep promising, "Any minute now," even though the grey clouds and the cold mist wore out their welcome, days ago.

Even my "go-to" happy place, the greenhouse filled with lustrous green texture and the soft intermingled scents of rich, brown earth and the sweet-citrusy-piney aroma of lavender, rosemary and scented geranium could use a few more shots of pink and red to highlight it's top notes.  It's still a bit early in the year for flowers to sing out here but, a little sun would go along way to hurry them along.

I look for my car keys, grab my umbrella and head for the only place I know that may satisfy the flower hunger in me--the floral department in, where else?--the local grocery store!  Here, I can tip-toe through the tulips, converse with the orchids, revel in the roses and even hang out with Sweet William while a bevy of mums, carnations and baby's breath actually look happy to see me.  So, this is where the sun is.  Oh yeah--I better get a gallon of  milk while I'm here, too.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Flower Press Pleasantries

Sunday afternoons in January are made for puttering around the house and discovering pleasant memories.  The Christmas decorations are down and working in the garden is still weeks away so, I found myself rummaging through the attic, thumbing through old books and cleaning out various drawers.   As I whiled away the day, I came across a flower press I had bought just a few years after I was married.  Since I've been married almost thirty-three years, I think I can safely say that this would be a flower press of a vintage nature as it must be at least 27 years old.  It had me wondering just what quantifies an item as being vintage anyway???   I remember the day I bought it.  We were visiting the Baltimore Aquarium and I found it in the Nature Store located there in the Inner Harbor close to the aquarium.

Inside, the press revealed preserved flowers in softly faded hues from translucent to opaque in purples, pinks, amber and celedons. I must have placed them, fresh from the garden, in there, so long ago, to try my hand at preserving flowers soon after I brought the press home.  I was surprised to see how good they looked even after all of these years.  Zinnias, hibiscus, loosestrife and roses, dogwood blossoms, tanzy buds and ruffled leaves, along with my very favorite, lavender, had withstood the test of time.

I had grandiose plans to gather and press delicate blossoms collected from our yard, which was then, a small patch of green attached to a town home in Alexandria, Virginia, far away from Old Town yet fairly close to the airport.  In any case, I had an inkling toward flowers, back then, even when my priorities were focused on a pressure filled full-time job in retail management.  Looking back, I guess I should have known then this small, unassuming little book of the few flowers I gathered would lead me to Blooming Hill, in some way.

What a treasure to find, on a cold winter day, tucked away in a cabinet, neither hiding nor calling my name but waiting patiently to be opened and discovered again.  I don't have the heart to throw them out so, I think I will keep them pressed between the layers and, possibly add to these flowers this coming summer.  Perhaps, in another 27 years, or hopefully sooner, I can rediscover them once again waiting patiently in my bookcase.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

We're Getting New Neighbors!

Here we are on the eighth day of Christmas--January 2, 2013 and, at Blooming Hill, we survived our very busy end of the 2012 season, the Mayan calender miscalculation (or whatever you want to call it) and even the fiscal cliff!  Wow!  What next??  Swarms of bees?Hahaha...What??...Really???  You mean that jolly little man in the brown truck parked in the driveway (sans reindeer) isn't delivering eight drummers drumming but, is delivering bees????

Well, not quite yet, but on this eighth day of Christmas, my true love had delivered to me a brand spankin' new bee hive!  SURPRISE!!  The honey bees will be arriving later in March when the weather softens and the bees get busy themselves and set up housekeeping in their new bee condo.

Wait a minute!...I know nothing about bees and besides that, who is gong to take care of this buzzing community of busy behavior since I am busily just trying to manage my own P's and Q's?  Ohhhhhhh, my true love has decided that we should be in the business of bees to help boost our lavender and flower gardens and my true love has also been taking a course on bees while reading whatever he can about the business of bees because, we are just not busy enough...ya' think!?!

Well, OKAYYYY.  Alert Welcome Wagon and bring on the bees.   We will be ready for them, or, at least, Peter will be!  Can't you just hear them happily humming along in their high-pitched voices while doing their work in the beautiful gardens?  Flitting from blossom to blossom, then back to their copper-topped home, right here at Blooming Hill.  I can just imagine tasting their delicious lavender-infused honey, too!  I think I'm likin' these new neighbors already!  Happy New Year!