I chose B-E-A-U-T-Y as my focus word for 2020. Even if dozens of leviathans had dropped from the sky from Mars, never would I have imagined the impact world events would have on our collective experience in the first 5 months of this year.
Wow, oh, wow!
Below, you can focus your eyes on images of flowers, food, and a surprise or two that hit a few high notes of the year so far.
Peach-colored, double hibiscus and a hearty sausage & sauerkraut stew, feast for eyes and taste buds.
We visited Jack and Judy Short in the The Villages, Florida. Judy, an artist/quilt-maker, is the mother of my daughter-in-law Sarah. In a re-designed space usually reserved for a golf cart, Judy’s husband Jack has created her art studio…
News reports became increasingly ominous. Our church began to broadcast online. Yet, natural beauty has been persistent.
An orchid with 28 blossoms burst forth in glorious bloom back in 2018,
I abused this same orchid by letting it sit in high heat during the summer of 2019, when I was obsessed with revising and publishing Mennonite Daughter. The arches of this orchid became scorched; they looked like dry sticks. Nature is forgiving, however, and this same orchid surprised me with more than two dozen flowers on its arches this year, 2020.
We walked on the sand just days before all beaches were closed in the Jacksonville area because of the pandemic. Two months later, now, in May they have begun to re-open with restricted hours.
ZOOM meet-ups began in earnest. My writers’ group, my Pilates class, and pre-school teachers at church all met in virtual clusters. We heard Ian play “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” in low tuba tones.
Then his daddy gave him a haircut!
Patrick and Jenna mulched our lawn, and Cliff planted marigolds and sunflowers
Generous blogger L. Marie sent me a crocheted gift. She says I won it by commenting on her blog!
More floral beauty has evolved:
A crimson hibiscus and a succulent. . .
. . . and, then, the face of a teeny-tiny Phalaenopsis smiles at me – and you!
Hubby got a haircut, transforming him from from woolly booger to suave style
HOWEVER . . .
During these months, we also experienced a pebble flying onto our windshield, which had to be replaced; a flat tire caused by a nail; and a storm-damaged roof, which we hope will be replaced in June. All, a nuisance, but certainly fixable.
The world is in flux. Because of the Corona Virus. States are in a quandary now as they ponder next steps:
But, so far, our family members have remained well.
Mother died in 2015, Aunt Ruthie in 2017, and brother Mark in May 2018. I grieve for them still. However, we had a proper service and burial for each of our loved ones.
At this time, I mourn especially for readers who have lost loved ones after the disease hit, perhaps even because of the deadly virus.
Family members who died after March 2020 will have to postpone beloved rituals to commemorate the lives of their loved ones. I know who some of you are, and my heart goes out to you.
My Wish: Peace and comfort and good health to you and your family
Which photos or anecdotes resonate with you?
How have you handled big (and little) upsets during this strange season?
What beauty beckons in your world?
Remember this! “Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.” ~ Anne Frank
I love flowers too and feel very privileged now to have a little garden at the front of the house where I can exercise my green fingers. Garden centres opened last Wednesday and Peter and I were quick to go and invest on a couple of new plants and a bird bath for our little patch.
I too feel terrible for those who couldn’t even bury and say a proper goodbye to their loved ones. What trying times the last few months have been for so many!
It’s been lovely to see beauty in the eitt E.g. is around us, Marian. Thanks for posting yours. What struck me here is how your orchid responded to its trauma last year. May we all respond so.
Janet, I was sure that orchid was a goner. And I felt guilt and chagrin. But, see, nature persists. Humans are persistent too; let’s hope as much as nature has shown. Here’s to beautiful blooms and more in Vermont. 🙂
Fatima, good for you – planting growing things and enjoying the process with Peter. Your comment reminds me of my mother’s birdbath that used to sit in her front lawn in Pennsylvania. Now it’s sitting in my son’s back yard, prettying up the place. And, I’m sure, attracting birdies too.
Thanks for the good news, my friend.
I love that you are finding beauty in these very strange times. It’s wonderful to see the lush flowers. Our lushness is just beginning to appear here.
My word for the year was Jubilation, and I’ve really had to stretch to find that. I’ve turned to the ancient Jewish tradition of Jubilee. “In this Year of Jubilee each of you shall return to your property.” That has certainly proved true!
Lushness in Canada, a lovely thought!
Of course I smiled at your mention of your focus word Jubilation and its ramifications now. The #StayHome certainly reinforces the definition. I believe the Jewish Jubilee also included restitution and forgiveness of debts. These sound like acts of kindness to me, and I see reminders of that in the news, brightening up the otherwise too-dire headlines. Thanks for tuning in here again, Arlene.
Good morning, Marian! Thank you for sharing your photos of beautiful things. Your flowers are certainly very beautiful!
Lately I’ve seen evidence of beauty on your blog and FB pages. I’m glad Jersey is beginning to bloom and supply more poetic inspiration, Merril. 🙂
Your photographs are things of beauty Marian! Ahhhh, those orchids! How beautifully they re-lived showing their abundance when all appeared to be lost. Maybe that’s a metaphor for these times…
The Leviathan I always took to be from the deep, a whale monster as in eg Moby Dick. Or Jonah – So when you wrote of leviathans dropping from the sky I was intrigued and it made for fascinating reading. Many biblical references also .. but in any event, leviathans dropping from the sky gives truth to the saying we’re living in upside down times …
How wondrous that we have eyes to see the beauty in the world around us. – the meaning of a crocheted gift, and hands to create whatever it is that we do … and can smile and laugh while we feel the sadness of those who’ve had to face the loss of loved ones, alone … we’re surely being required or invited to hold the tension of these opposites …
So thank you Marian, and for your wish of Peace good health and comfort (in our discomfort). My good wishes to you and family too …
Thanks for noticing all those details, Susan, including the upside-down reference to leviathans – ha!
I especially appreciated this line in your comment: “we’re surely being required or invited to hold the tension of these opposites ….!
Beautiful post, Marian. All of the flowers are gorgeous, but your orchids resonate with me the most. Like you, I have a green thumb when it comes to orchids. My co-workers call me “the orchid whisperer.” Mine seem to bloom and bloom many times throughout the year. I too had a “stick” that everyone said was dead and I should dump it. I continued to water it and two years later, the stick erupted into gorgeous blooms.
This happened right before I left my office on March 17th and have yet to return. Thankfully, one of the officers I work with, and is an essential worker, has been taking care of my flowers. He emailed a picture last week and all of my orchids are still in full bloom. Even when I feel like that dead stick, I find comfort in knowing gorgeous blooms are in my future. God is good and He will take care of His own. Oh, and I love the photos of Cliff! 🙂
I enjoyed your “orchid” story and the kind, caring worker who tends it. He is indeed “essential” in helping you (and us) keep our balance in a wacky world.
Unfortunately, I wouldn’t characterize myself as an orchid whisperer because many of my orchids just sit in the lanai with glossy (make that “dusty”!) leaves and don’t bloom. But, as you point out, there’s always hope! The one I pictured is proof. Thanks, Jill!
Thank you, Marian, for such an uplift!
I’m glad you enjoyed the uplift here, Jack. You have definitely uplifted those who’ve posted in “Growing up in Elizabethtown.” Thanks for your part in administering that page. I, along with many others, have re-kindled friendships there . . . and found new ones. 🙂
I love the wooly bully photo of Cliff’s hairdo. He’s such a good sport to participate in your blog in so many ways. Re: haircuts, my hair has grown long enough to once again be pulled back into a pony tail–which would be convenient for summer garden work etc. So my dilemma for my long awaited hair appointment for next Wed.: do I ask her to trim the extra inch off, or just tweak the ends. Such a minor dilemma with all that’s going on in the world. Thanks for the beauty and perspective you share here!
The wooly photo of Cliff was a selfie, taken just before his haircut last week. He doesn’t mind displaying his face, flattering or not. You have to remember he performed in school assembly programs for many, many years — not possible these days.
I am facing the same dilemma, Melodie. My hair isn’t long enough for a pony tail, but it has grown longer, and I wonder what to do. The bangs for sure have to be trimmed.
If you are still flummoxed next week, you can always wait until the next appointment and enjoy the new “do,” maybe with a cute band or clasp – ha!
You presented your word so well here, Marian. There is beauty all around you – and us. That orchid is amazing. I had no idea so many flowers could emerge from one plant. We gave an orchid to Mark’s mom for Mother’s Day. Flowers bring her happiness as well. I love that before and after shot of Cliff. 🙂
Tough times remain here as MA seems to lag behind. Nothing is opening yet; we are in need of health services. I can’t even make appointments yet. Luckily nothing serious. Patience. That should have been my word for 2020. I chose “purpose”, which is certainly hard to achieve during this pandemic. Stay positive! You have such a beautiful smile.
Thanks for your varied comments here. Cliff’s “before” photo was a selfie; I took the “after.”
I hope Massachusetts opens up more in June, for your sake. I like your reflection on several “P” words. You mentioned “patience,” which I think is best developed when our “purpose” is thwarted. It’s a quandary, but that’s how it goes, at least from my perspective. I hope Maya and Mark are helping you stay positive. Enjoy your day – and the orchid too, Liesbet!
Wonderful post, Marian! So love your photos! Always nice to see your family. I’m glad that BEAUTY is your word. You’ve provided us with beautiful posts! I can’t help thinking of the verse about beauty for ashes and the hope that God will provide that crown of beauty (since we’ve definitely had the ashes).
Orchids are so beautiful. I’ve never had one, but I admire them from afar. 😀 I don’t dare bring one home. I don’t have the greenest of thumbs. 😀
Yes, L. Marie, I love the verse you are referring to from Isaiah 61:3 ” . . . to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord,”
Maybe you don’t have the greenest of thumbs, but you do have such a generous heart, which is why I included the photo of your crocheted wonder here. 🙂
Thank you for taking time to notice beauty. There is much of it also in the Oakland countryside and in the new little home I am building with Ivan.
You are building a new HOME. Wow! I’m happy for you. So, the farmer is also a carpenter. I just saw a photo, maybe on Facebook, of you and Ivan in the fields. This made me think of another Christian author married to a farmer, Ann Voskamp: https://annvoskamp.com/ann-voskamp/ Maybe you’ve heard of her.
She never finished college although she had a full scholarship, married a farmer, and now has 7 children to spice up her writing life. Better get crackiin’ Luci. (Only half-kidding!) 🙂
I love the resiliency of that orchid. Similar to the human spirit I suppose. I wanted to do a before and after of my hubby but he wasn’t keen. But he does look so much better now after a visit to the barber. Take care and lets enjoy the few freedoms we have been granted. xo
Well, you know Cliff, not afraid to look foolish; I suppose it’s part of his “performer” genes.
Thanks for your reminding us of the resiliency of the human spirit. Soon, I will rejoice with you in our “few freedoms,” put on my mask and head off to the grocery store.
I’m looking at an orchid on my big walnut desk, Marian. It has three lovely blooms and some promising green tips at the end, but it seems to be resting. No profusion yet, but three perfect, creamy white flowers. If I appreciate their beauty, it is a good reminder that a little beauty can be more than enough.
I enjoyed going through your journey month-by-month. Blogs are a wonderful place to document the big waves, the leviathans, and the tiny flowers that grow up in the cracks of time.
Shirley, you are so good at distilling thoughts: what we have is enough if we take the time to appreciate it.
Like many, I sensed a pause in the upheaval on our planet so far this year. And because, I am a writer, I thought, “Write this down, what happened in these momentous months, so you have a record.” You are probably doing that too, perhaps in a different way.
Life goes on . . . in spite of all! 🙂
Beauty beckons to me in color. Wherever I see it. I’m not fussy about which shade of color I see as long as the world doesn’t go black and white. I mean that literally and figuratively.
Color makes the world go ’round for me too, Ally. A monochromatic world is not for me either.
I’ve written several blog posts about color, one here from 2014, probably before we knew each other: https://marianbeaman.com/2014/11/22/what-color-makes-you-sing/
Fascinating. Thanks for sharing your post here again. I didn’t know that some people hear colors. How amazing is that?
Marian — I thoroughly enjoyed the delightful “eye candy” photo tour that you shared. My favorite photos are the before and after shots of Cliff. The “woolly booger” made me laugh!
“Eye candy” is not a phrase I’ve heard recently. Thank you for bringing it back to life here. Yes, Cliff enjoyed primping for the “woolly booger” pose, a selfie, in fact. Even with messy hair, he doesn’t mind showing off. I’m glad you got a laugh out of it, Laurie!
Your orchids are gorgeous, Marian. We received some for our 50th anniversary celebration two years ago and they have just started blooming again. Love the picture of Cliff before and after! Made me laugh! A contrast in beauty is always good—shaggy mane and sauerkraut//beautiful flowers. So good your grandkids are volunteering their help with the lawn! that’s love in action!
Thank you for mentioning the contrasts, Elfrieda. But then you always have a sharp eye for detail.
Yes, we are glad to have grandkids to help with yard work. But, truth be told, we do pay them. That way they have some spending money. They’d probably would do with without the $$ though. 🙂
Dad’s haircut before/after is a hoot- you know he enjoyed posing for that! Nice imagery- your photography skills have come a long way!
I appreciate the compliment, Mr. Photog. I’ve had practice and some good models too. Learning how to crop photos and use filters without going overboard happened over time. Also, WordPress is making sizing photo a lot easier too.
Thanks for showing up here, son. 😀
I love this post, Marian. It is a gratitude list of beautiful things in our world that we all can appreciate, along with “hair cuts!”
I’m glad you enjoyed this, Joan. My own haircut comes tomorrow. Now I have a decision to make. My hair looks pretty good a little longer. Should I go back to the short “do”? Let it grow?
One thing for sure, the bangs need a good trim! 🙂
This is my cup of tea, as you know. Thank you. The world is hard? Go find something beautiful. Anything. There’s always something out there and you have exquisite flowers. I’ve taken one shopping out in over 2 months (my son and a friend buy food for me and I get weekly deliveries from an organic farm).
My adventure destination was a greenhouse. The plants are getting used to the wind and sun after growing up in a greenhouse. I hired a young woman to help me weed and prepare the beds for new plants tomorrow. My expenses have never been so low, so I decided to splurge on getting help creating beautiful gardens. They’re the best mood elevator I know. (A haircut would be great, too, but NY is moving cautiously for good reason, so I’ll have to wait.) A favorite? That orchid. Thanks, Marian.
Elaine, I’ve seen trees and flowers and monarchs galore on your social media, changing month to month. Love all of them!
I’m sure the greenhouse enjoyed your excursion as much as you did. You got oxygen and a mood boost, and the plants benefited from a tiny bit of carbon dioxide and admiring glances from you. Win win!
And, I’m happy to know you are cared for: deliveries and sons checking in. Why not have help with weeding and bed setting. I’ll look for your pictures soon!
Marian, I enjoyed journeying with you from January until now through your words and images. I especially enjoyed the floral bits. Because of living in a mini woods, we have far more shade than sun. Our house is so dark even in day time indoor plants refuse to thrive.
AND I was brave enough to suggest to Bob that we forego purchasing annuals to plant as we couldn’t find a nursery with an order-and-curb-pickup service. With both of us at high risk at this time, we’re reluctant to walk through a nursery shopping for flowers. I’d love a haircut about now but maybe I’ll like my hair longer. Thanks for the virtual garden and family tour this morning!
Our property has lots of shady spots because of the leafy oaks, so I have to watch what I plant. Caladiums tolerate shade pretty well, so I bought some of those this year from an open-air nursery.
I have a hair appointment tomorrow (masks advised), and I’m wondering if I’d like my hair a little longer. One thing for the sure, the bangs need a “hard” trim.
I’m glad you enjoyed the virtual tour today. It’s good to see you here; I’m enjoying your posts too, Sherrey!
Beautiful post, Marian. Wonderful photos and an uplifting take on the state we’re all in together.
Bette, I’ve read somewhere today that all 50 states have re-opened at least partially. I’m not sure about other countries, but I hope we are all being cautious. I’m glad you enjoyed the collage here. Thank you!
I’m with Janet in her comment. May we all revive after being “scorched” in some ways from this pandemic, and crop up full of life and beauty like your orchid. (I love love love orchids and have several grace me with their presence throughout my house).
Flowers are definitely a “thing” of beauty, and an important part of my every day life. My mom always had fresh flowers on our dining room table growing up, and when she became an older single woman, her apartment was full of fresh flowers. I have followed in her footsteps, and I smile every time I enter my daughter’s house, which always, always has two to four fresh flower bouquets throughout her rooms. My daughter has become an amazing flower arranger (as a hobby) and several florist shops have tried to hire her, but she remains a 6th grade science teacher as she raises her three children. She says her gift was handed down to her from her mom and her Nanny. Not how beautiful is that?
Your floral fantasy has help flush out some of the depressing news bytes that have come my way this morning.
I’m glad during this time of healing, the flowers here have prompted pleasant memories of your mother. How wonderful that you have this legacy to dwell upon, and that your daughter is already passing the torch (bad image, but you know what I mean!) You reminded me that my mother grew peonies which bloomed during the end of May – Decoration Day she called it. She displayed her luscious garnet and cream blooms in a bucket on her porch and invited neighbors to take some.
It occurs to me that your daughter is wise for now, keeping a schedule that synchronizes with her children’s. There’s always a second (or third) act to explore another vocation like flower arranging.
You cheered me up, Pam. Thanks so much! ((( )))
Thanks for sharing your ‘life through images’ Marian. Two images stood out to me, the delicious looking stew and the gorgeous, resilient orchids. 🙂
It seemed sensible to do a month-by-month review of this crazy year. I’m glad the stew and orchids stood out for you.
Today was a red-letter day for me. After nearly 3 months, I was able to get a haircut/color. Beauty salons can operate if stylists wear masks. I wonder about Toronto these days.
Stay well & enjoy your weekend, Debby!
Lovely shots indeed! I feel so bad for all the people who can’t be at their loved ones side – in hospitals, giving birth, being ill etc…
I understand your feelings, which I can empathize with. Unfortunately, we cannot control what happens in the world, but we can do small, kind acts, helping the hungry or needy in our spot of the world.
Thanks for tuning in again this week, Fiona, and have a great weekend!
A beautiful post, Marian. There is still beauty everywhere, it is how we look at things that makes the difference. Small things, especially. Love that orchid!
Barbara, I know from your blog you love too beautiful things. I’m glad we have a choice to filter out the bad and focus on the good. Have a great weekend! 🙂
Ooops! It’s so difficult to choose a photo that resonates because I could choose all of them but I suppose the beach one . I did exactly the same as Cliff , two days before lockdown went on my favourite beach with Arthur and I said to it ‘I won’t be seeing you for a while my friend ‘ over two months later still haven’t seen it . Soooooo miss it 😢 We are still in lockdown here in Wales .
However we have found some wonderful walks in nature on our doorstep. I have even bought all my summer bedding from a tiny stall outside a cottage on route paid in an Honesty Box’ . It’s been a surreal time …allowed us all to reflect .
My dear Cherry, whenever I see a travelogue, giving me a glimpse of the British Isles, I click on it, especially if it features WALES. You live in a lovely country.
I smiled reading out your finding bedding that you paid for in an Honesty Box. Probably you are talking about paying on the honor system. Amish and Mennonite farmers often do that when they have fresh produce in the spring and summer. No one in the family wants to sit in the hot sun and wait for the casual passers-by, so they do the sensible thing: expect that people will pay. My guess is that they probably do the right thing.
On Thursday I too visited the hair salon where the stylists wear masks. I discovered that I like I like the longer “do,” so I got a slight trim and a hard cut to the bangs. And COLOR, I must admit. It makes me feel less “washed out” – ha!
It’s always good to hear from you! oxo