A Year of gifts
SOMETIMES THE ROADBLOCKS, SETBACKS, AND HEARTBREAKS OF LIFE TURN OUT TO BE THE GREATEST GIFTS OF ALL . . .
You know it’s spring in North Dakota when you have to use both the air conditioner and the furnace in the same week! The weather around here can be extreme. Today the wind howled but dazzling sunshine and a brilliant blue sky helped temper the bite of the gusts.
Bright green grass and fresh new leaves bring vivid color to the landscape. This was the week the crab apple trees blossomed, adding blushes of pinks and purples to the green. My kids know there will be pictures in front of that glorious tree every year. Is it possible we have twenty- four annual photos with that tree already? Where do the years go?
My favorite part of spring is the flowers. I love going from nursery to nursery, seeing what’s new this year and deciding what I want to plant where. I welcome the chance to create with gifts from nature. Part of my Sunday plans include my first round of flower shopping this year. Around here, if you plant before Memorial weekend, you run the risk of frost hurting your new babies.
For some reason, memories of a springtime walk to school when I was in first grade hold tight in my mind. We lived in Wisconsin so Dad could complete his schooling for his master’s degree. We lived in ramshackle family housing. My walk to school took me by a beautiful spring garden and the morning I recall so vividly was grey and drizzly. Perhaps that is why the colors were so vibrant. The rain brought the scent of all those blossoms to life. The only smudge on that perfect memory was the guilt I felt for plucking one of those pretty flowers. I knew immediately I shouldn’t have done it.
Spring is all about fresh starts. For us, it’s time to open our cabin in preparation for summer weekends to be spent at the lake. There will be campfires, fishing and barbecues with family and friends. But before all that, there is work to be done. For me, that work began today. For my husband, he’s already put in some time out there this year.
Next weekend will be Memorial Day. The unofficial kickoff to summer. I’ll pick up more flowers and go out and freshen the grave sites of family and a few close friends. My mom started me on the tradition. Spending a few hours showing respect and remembering those that have gone before us leaves me with a sense of peace.
Springtime is a season of anticipation for what is to come. Maybe if we lived somewhere that didn’t have four distinct seasons the glory of spring might be dampened. But here spring means the days of ice and snow are behind us and warm weather is coming. We have teaser-days where temperatures can reach into the 80’s but then fall back again to close to freezing. Sitting on the deck is such a treat right now, before the mosquitoes start buzzing. The sunsets stretch far into the evening. My first cup of early morning coffee now includes a serenade by noisy song birds.
I find comfort in the rhythm of the changing of the seasons.
There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter. Rachel Carson
So if you have been weighted down by life’s troubles and the past season has felt cold and dark, my hope for you is that your spirit is buoyed by the promise of all the changes that spring can initiate. Sit in the sunshine, feel the warmth on your shoulders, smell the fresh green grass, and gaze upon the fresh colors of new blooms. Welcome the season and enjoy. Kim
As a mother, I know one of my main responsibilities in life is to help instill wisdom in my own kids. Life is complicated but learning healthy ways to handle the unexpected curves inevitably thrown our way can make all the difference. Who better than moms to teach children what is truly important in life? Don’t misunderstand me. Fathers play a very important role as well, but today is Mother’s Day so it’s all about the ladies!
My mom taught me immeasurable lessons throughout my lifetime. This year, instead of searching for a gift for her for Mother’s Day, I’m searching my heart and bringing to mind all of the precious guidance she gave me and passing some of it on to you. A gift of a Mother’s Day message, you might say, from my mother… to me… and on to you.
Some of the many lessons I learned from Mom:
Mom taught us that life starts at home. Home is wherever your family is. Nothing is more important than family. Not money… not prestige… nothing.
Family is based on strong relationships that grow and evolve over time. There will be bumps and setbacks. There will be fights and disappointments. If you can weather the storms all relationships face, you may find yourself blessed to have someone by your side, loving you and caring for you all the way through to the very end. Walking away is sometimes the easy, short term fix but be sure you know what you are walking away from before you give up too quickly.
Family extends beyond blood relations to include those special friends that touch your heart and whose lives become forever entwined with yours. Those special friends may have entered your life in grade school, high school, at your first job, at your last job or anywhere else in your life’s journey. What makes them special is that inexplicable bond that never fades, no matter how much time passes. When you have friends like this, hold them tight in your heart. They too will be there in times of need…as you will be for them. Mom was blessed with many of these very special friends.
Work needs to provide more than just money to pay the bills. It should be a way to make this world a better place. Throughout much of my life, I shared my mom with countless others. As a social worker, mainly working with high school kids, my mom touched so many lives. I was lucky enough to call her “Mom” but they were fortunate to also hold a special place in her heart. She saved lives. She turned lives around. The love she had for her job and the kids she served was incredible. Years after she retired, people would still come up to her and thank her for being the turning point they needed in their lives. I would listen in awe.
Keep fun in your life. Go watch kids play high school basketball and cheer your heart out. Mom was often the loudest fan in the stands, much to my dismay when I was still in school. Play cards with your friends, go dancing with your husband, enjoy the great outdoors playing golf or walking with your girlfriends. Put some fun into every single day.
Pass on family traditions. Decorate your home to celebrate the seasons and spoil your kids and grandkids at Christmas. Don’t buy them things anytime they want something. It isn’t about spoiling them or “buying” their love. But make the holidays truly special.
Be responsible. Work hard and provide for your family. Know that there are so many people in this world with far less than you are blessed with. Never look down on people. Mom used to say some of her favorite people were the kids in school that others had given up on. She always saw the good in people. Help others when you can. Remember… everyone has a story.
Take care of your health. Get some kind of physical exercise most every day and watch what you eat. One evening cocktail before dinner each night won’t kill you. Don’t get drunk and act like an idiot.
Take some chances in life. Support your kids. When they are grown and on their own, never laugh at their ideas as they search for new ways to earn a living or find more joy in life. Be that sounding board, that voice of wisdom and that cheerleader. Don’t be a naysayer.
Live life by example. Show, don’t tell. Earn the respect of people through the way you live your own life and then set high expectations of them as well. No one will want to disappoint you. You can’t demand respect, you have to earn it.
Take care of your parents as they age. Mom did this for her own parents. Her sisters lived far away so care taking mainly fell to her. It was hard but she seldom complained.
And finally, if you are ever faced with the heartbreak of a debilitating illness, fight the good fight. Try conventional medicine. Try unconventional approaches. Dig deep for your faith in things beyond this world, even if that faith might have gotten a little rusty over the years. Accept the fact that none of us live forever, even when those around you can’t.
Life is so much better when you spend it helping others, having fun, giving grace,and nurturing younger generations.
I could fill pages with all the things I learned from Mom. I will continue to share her wisdom because my thoughts and outlook on life were shaped in large part by her. She lives on in me. In all of us that were blessed to know her.
So on this very first Mother’s Day without my own mom, I vow to focus on the many gifts she gave me instead of wallowing in the heartache I feel over her absence. I will hug my own children tight, thank God for my many blessings, and enjoy this special day dedicated to celebrating those that gave us life. Thank you, Mom. I love you.
I encourage you to take some of Mom's teachings to heart. If you are lucky enough to spend time with your own mother today, enjoy! If you are a mother, or if you play the role of a strong female presence in someone else's life, know how special that is and that you are loved. Blessings to you all, Kim
Hello everyone and welcome to my blog! My name is Kimberly Diede and I'm a self-published fiction author and family girl. When time permits, I am happiest with a great cup of coffee in one hand and a book in the other. I love to alternate between reading and writing. Winters here can be long, dark and cold. Summers are unpredictable, lovely and always too short. Every season of the year, as in every season of life, is a gift. Let's celebrate it together!