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100 Times to Experience Spring

Peonies from my garden

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…” – Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Today I am ready for the reawakening of Spring. It snowed today for hours with white-out conditions. By this time in the year, I am ready for the darkness of winter to pass and the light and color of spring to come. I’m ready for a new season.

Spring / Winter in Ohio today

Spring shakes me up inside because of the newness of it all, the rebirth. The reawakening of the world does something to me deeply. When autumn passes to winter, I mourn the brown sticks and rustling dead leaves. And now, after months of dead and dark, I yearn for renewal. The best way to do that is to really experience spring.

I once heard this: “If we live to be 100 years old, we will have only experienced Spring 100 times”

We can only experience Spring if we’re paying attention.

That quote always brings me back to this season with wide eyes. In only weeks, I’ll be looking out at flowers and hummingbirds and butterflies. By the way the deadened world looks now, it seems impossible. But it will come. Something bigger is at work, right before our eyes. Spring.

100 Times to Experience Spring | #100Springs

My life always fills up and brims over with busyness, so unless I am intentional I will miss this rebirth we call Spring. To help me remember to watch and be on the lookout for the miracle of Spring, I intend to do these 5 things as often as possible:

  1. Pause and look at the landscape, and notice what has changed from the day before.
  2. Take a walk through someplace wild—the backyard, or a park, or an open field. I love the fresh smells and popping colors floating on the breeze.
  3. Plant more flowers. I can’t wait for the peonies I planted four and five years ago to bloom. My modest garden now yields hundreds of peonies. I’m excited for flowers and color as Spring draws near.
  4. Cut bouquets to bring indoors. Tulips, daffodils, lily of the valley, peonies, iris … an endless parade of Spring beauties wait outside laden with fragrance to be enjoyed. And as I mentioned, I can’t wait for the peonies to come.
  5. Pull out the camera and capture a photo or two of a Wow moment—that moment when I see something new and its beauty takes my breath away. Somehow, capturing something through a lens makes the experience richer, into one that can be shared.
Peonies from my garden
Peonies from my garden

If you have a cell phone with a camera and have Instagram (my favorite photo-sharing app), take one photo a day–not a great one, but one photo of Spring in action that catches your eye, and share it there. I’m tagging my photos with #100Springs so that at the end of the season, we can look back at Spring as it came. If you tag your spring photos with #100Springs (no spaces), they’ll show up in the tag and we can view all of them together.

My account at Instagram is @jennifer___lyn. I look forward to you joining me!

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Peonies, Beauty, and a Joy-filled Heart

Peonies from my garden

To me, flowers are happiness. – Stefano Gabbana

Every spring, my heart looks forward to the flowers. Years ago, when we moved in to our current home after 4 years living in Prague, I planted a flower garden (and wrote about it here). Every spring since has been more and more of a celebration.

I love many of the perennials planted in my garden. I chose the combinations of color and plants based upon their bloom times. Here, I wrote about creating a painterly garden.

Roses have always been a favorite, but in recent years, peonies are gaining to be a very close tie for my favorite flower.

Why? Peonies only bloom once per year. But the form, fragrance, and abundance of beauty in each peony stem is enough to be unforgettable.

Yes, flowers to me = happiness. They are quietly beautiful, don’t demand anything but water, soil, and sunlight, and in return give a heart brimming with joy. Here, I have a few favorite photographs of peonies from my garden this year, along with a few favorite quotes.

Peonies, Beauty, and a Joy-filled Heart

Peonies from my garden

Flowers… are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty out-values all the utilities of the world.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Peonies from my garden

I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.

Emma Goldman

Peonies from my garden

Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature.

Gerard de Nerval

Peonies from my garden

Where flowers bloom so does hope.

Lady Bird Johnson

Peonies from my garden

Flowers are love’s truest language.

Park Benjamin

Peonies from my garden

Flowers always make people better, happier and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine to the soul.

Luther Burbank

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Peonies and Beauty

A peony blossom

Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul. – Alice Walker

 

I have always loved flowers. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the fields of red poppies or vibrant yellow rapeseed across Europe, the Redbud and Dogwood trees here in Ohio this spring, from the small garden in my backyard, or the grocery store checkout, I simply love flowers.

To me, there is something about a flower’s quiet beauty that turns me inside out and makes my heart happy. Flowers don’t demand attention. But if we take time to notice, they give us something intangible — something which to me feels like peace.

I love what Alice Walker said, when we create beauty, we’re restoring our own souls. I believe it to be true.

Two years ago, I put a flower garden in outside my kitchen window, and later wrote about it here. I started with a shovel, landscape fabric, mulch, and an assortment of plants. My top two priorities were to plant peonies and roses.

Roses go unsaid; I adore them, and have written about and shared photographs of them many times here. But peonies are one plant which bloom and once they do, they take over the garden with their beauty. This past week, I’ve been captivated.

Peonies from the Garden

Peonies

It’s a very short trip. While alive, live. – Malcolm Forbes

 

Peony

 

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

An unfurling peony
An unfurling peony

 

The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone. – Johann von Goethe

 

Peonies

 

I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all. – Laura Ingalls Wilder

 

Peony

When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other. – Chinese Proverb

 

Peonies

In every man’s heart there is a secret nerve that answers to the vibrations of beauty. – Christopher Morley

 

Peony

Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. You’re only here for a short visit. So be sure to stop and smell the flowers. – Walter Hagen

 

Peony

By plucking her petals, you do not gather the beauty of the flower. – Rabindranath Tagore

 

Peonies

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike. This natural beauty-hunger is made manifest in the little window-sill gardens of the poor, though perhaps only a geranium slip in a broken cup, as well as in the carefully tended rose and lily gardens of the rich, the thousands of spacious city parks and botanical gardens, and in our magnificent National parks — the Yellowstone, Yosemite, Sequoia, etc. — Nature’s sublime wonderlands, the admiration and joy of the world. – John Muir

 

Do you have a favorite peony or flower? Share your photos (you should be able to attach or link) here with us!