Category Archives: flowers

If you slow down long enough to consider why you do what you do, you’ll probably be amazed and disturbed at the same time. I’m reading a book that’s jerking me around like that, The Power of Habit. It’s delivering the one-two punch of amazement and disturbance. I was listening to an interview, recently, on one of those network morning talk segments that stirred my curiosity so much, I went straight to Amazon and ordered. I have a love/hate relationship with my new book.

What I’m learning is this; habit is established based on the craving for the end result more than the end result itself. This is fascinating and confusing at the same time. I’m fascinated because studies show the reason people habitually exercise is they crave the endorphins and other neurochemicals they get from the work out and the sense of accomplishment that comes when they’re cooling down. I’m confused because after I exercise, all I want to do is lie down and drink a big glass of sweet tea, which most likely cancels out all the calories I just burned. Forget the endorphin rush.

Exercise for me is driven more out of a burning sense of guilt than desire. I go in seasons of really committed or really full of excuses, one extreme or the other. A friend posted on Facebook the other day she started out her birthday with an eight mile run. My son Travis just shaved 13 minutes off his best half marathon time. Those two things alone raised my guilt level higher than the excuses.

I hadn’t laced up my walking shoes in a few weeks, ok, a few months, so I got them out. No sense of craving hit, but it was a beautiful day and I was looking forward to simply being outside. Where I live there’s barely 25 yards of flat ground which, in my sense of reasoning, is a logical excuse for not walking. However, for every uphill there is a downhill where I can regroup and stop gasping.

I was in a downhill-stop-panting phase when I noticed something unusual. I stopped. Growing out of the crack between the asphalt road and the concrete curb were two wild daisies. The strangest thing was there were no other daisies anywhere around. They were oddly out of place.

I took a picture, smiled and kept walking. I wondered how those flowers ever got there and how they managed to grow. More than likely bird poop deposited the seeds for them to get started and, even though they look delicate, they have enough gumption and grit to keep going.

This is what dawned on me while on my guilt induced walk: it doesn’t matter how you got there, or what you have to work with, do the best you can, with what you have, right where you are.

A habit established by an endorphin rush or not, I should keep on walking. There’s a lot to learn out there.


I know spring’s official date was March 20th and Easter has come and gone and according to the fashion rules of the 1960s it’s now OK to wear white shoes. But for me, until I plant flowers, it’s not really spring. So instead of cleaning out my kitchen cabinets as I had originally planned, yesterday I planted flowers.

Every year when I dig in the dirt I think of my friend Pardner. Pardner lived to celebrate her 100th birthday and was one of the smartest women ever. She planted and cared for the thousands of flowers at the summer camp where we worked for 20 years. When I met Pardner she was planting and watering and I was young and curious. Her flowerbeds were stunning so I asked one day what her tricks were for a green thumb.

Wise people are usually generous in sharing the knowledge they’ve collected through the years. We just fail to ask questions. I sat down on a rock to listen. Her long answer reminded me of asking my grandmother how to make her Thanksgiving dressing; add sage until you can smell it.

Then she stopped digging, brushed a wild strand of hair out of her eyes and said, “It all really boils down to just a few things. Always pinch off the bottom of the roots when you take the plant out of the container.” I don’t know why, because I never asked. I should have. “Put water in the hole before you put the plant in the dirt and water every day unless it rains. Oh, and pinch off the dead heads. That’s all you need to remember, Dah’lin.” When she smiled her eyes crinkled.

I’ve always followed Pardner’s advice and my flowers last until the first frost every year.

There’s something so organic about planting flowers, like it’s something we’re all supposed to do. Digging in the dirt and getting messy and soggy is therapeutic in an odd sort of a way. It’s as if you are doing something not only for yourself, but for others to enjoy too.

It’s officially spring because the flowers are planted. Now I’ll have to find my white shoes.