Mother’s Day

Mother . . . we all had one.  Mothers vary in shape, size, age, and race.  Some are shy.  Some are exuberant.  She was the one who gave us physical birth or adopted us. Perhaps the woman who acted in the role of a mother figure in your life is the one you really view as your mom.  Whoever she is/was, she is one of the most significant persons in our life.

Mother's-Gerber

Happy Mother’s Day

I never fully appreciated my mother until I became a mother myself.  Mother has been in heaven almost two years . . . I still miss her.  She shaped me.  She loved me.  She sacrificed for me.  She believed in me.  She was my champion.   I will always be grateful for the privilege of being her daughter.

 

What is Your Bliss?

Rudbeckia

Rudbeckia

“What’s your bliss?”  That’s the question on this fourth day of the WordPress photo course, Photo101.

How does one define bliss?  The dictionary says it is complete happiness, great joy, paradise or heaven.

My bliss is . . .

I thought of chocolate, of being with all my family, or visiting with a dear friend I haven’t seen in years.  A glass of cold sweet ice tea on a  hot, humid summer day even crossed my mind.  All of these bring me happiness, but, sometimes the chocolate is melted.  Family members are tired or cranky or sick. My friend cancelled her plans to see me due to a family emergency.  The caffeine in the sweet ice tea kept me awake later at night than I planned.  Life happens.

There is a place I go that always makes me completely happy.  As soon as I enter, I feel my body relax.  My worries disappear.  Like a kid in a candy store, I want one, two, or three of everything I see!  The beauty here feeds my soul.  In this enchanted place I am surrounded with so many colors and ideas my heart can barely contain it all.  How will I ever narrow down my choices?  Each time I experience awe, because I am enveloped by the colorful, detailed and exotic canvas of God’s artistry.

What is this place?  It is a local, family owned, plant nursery that has thrived in my area for decades.  Whatever plants I purchase here I know will survive in my climate, not one 300 miles north of me.

This love of plants is part of my DNA.  It was passed down to me from my dad who loved to grow food to eat and my mother who never met a flower she didn’t like or want to grow.  My brother and sister also inherited the same plant loving genes.  Every conversation we share always includes at least a snippet about what each of us is growing in our yard.

My bliss?  A visit to the local plant nursery.  My website, http://www.stephaniehalstead.com will confirm how much I love flowers.  Thanks for taking “A Second Look.”

Signs of a New Beginning

The rain had beat against the ground for hours the night before.  The Florida sandy soil could absorb no more.  Some had experienced flooding.  Thankfully we had not.  Guess God knew we had enough on our hands to deal with in those days.

-Spring-Delight

Spring Delight

Cocooned in our own little world, Mother was in her final two months of hospice care.  My sister and I lost the sense of tracking time as the rest of the world did.  Our sleeping and eating schedule as caregivers constantly changed.  Our “world” was intense, focused and unpredictable.

Dogwood-Tree

Dogwood Tree

Into that world, God gave gifts to encourage my sister and me as we walked this final journey with our mother.  One morning it was branches of a dogwood tree loaded with blooms.  The tree had suffered extensive damage during the previous night’s storm.  Like a discarded party dress, it now lay cast off, no longer wanted.

Center-of-Dogwood

Center of Dogwood

Gathering as much as my arms would hold, I walked back to the house. Branches. Blossoms. Wet leaves.  I felt so incredibly rich! Dogwoods are trees from my up growing days.  They always heralded that Spring had arrived.  Winter was over.

After that morning, I started walking in the cooler hours of the day as often as I could.  Exercise obviously helped with the stress, but each time I eagerly looked for the next sign of Spring.  Every day brought new delights.  Having lived in the subtropics for over 20 years, I do so miss seeing spring flowers!  The Dogwood blossoms were one of my favorites.

Thanks for taking “a second look.”       http://www.stephaniehalstead.com

Three-Dogwoods

Three Dogwods

 

 

Favorite Love Story

Our-Love-StoryForget the Hallmark movies.

Listen to others in your life tell their story of love.

Enjoy the smiles on the faces of those in love.

Celebrate with the bride and groom who just got married!

Celebrate with the bride and groom who have been married for many years!

My favorite love story?

Mine of course!

I bet yours is your favorite, too.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

http://www.stephaniehalstead.com

One My Soul Loves

"One my Soul Loves".  Silver cup with red roses.  Red roses on black background.  My husband and I are celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary this week.  Thirty-five years.  They have gone quickly! 

I have always enjoyed fresh cut flowers.  He gave me roses on our first date.  If I had not already been smitten with him, that would have made me take a second look!  Reality was that I was attracted to him the moment I saw him.

Many dozens of roses later, he is still the one whom my soul loves.  Tonight he gave me, yes, you guessed correctly . . . he gave me roses.