We’re having a family picnic celebration in my backyard. Mothers of various generations will be present, from me, a great-grandmother, to a mother in her mid-20s. Others don’t personally have children but have acted as mothers to nieces, nephews and step-children for years. Mother’s Day is also a time to remember those mothers who aren’t with us anymore. All mothers need to be appreciated for many reasons, but for one in particular. Deciding to have children is scary. As someone once said, I’m paraphrasing, having a child is like having your heart walking around outside your body. A mother will always be concerned about her children’s welfare and happiness, no matter how old her children are. Here’s a shout out to all mothers!
My weather radio sounded the alarm. We were under another tornado watch, not unusual this time of year in Texas. When a storm is imminent, it’s eerily quiet at first—no wind and the sky sometimes has a greenish gray tint. But then the sky darkens, the wind begins and thunder starts rumbling in the distance. When I was a child, I resented leaving my warm bed to run through sometimes driving rain to a cold, damp cellar, but my parents knew the damage such storms could do. Older and wiser now, I have a safe room installed in my garage. So why wasn’t I in it instead of on my computer while a storm was brewing? Because, unlike when I was a child, I could see by the radar on my phone that my area was at the edge of the worst weather. I stayed alert but got only wind and rain. So I prayed for those in Oklahoma and beyond where the main part of the storm was headed.
I pray a lot, but I’m not very good at it. When I hear the gracious prayers of others, so thoughtfully and beautifully presented to God, like precious golden gifts on an altar, I’m inspired but also a bit intimidated. My prayers can sound abrupt and sometimes disjointed as I think of something or someone I need to add, mid-prayer. Yes, prayer is to God, not for other ears, but in some circumstances public prayer is expected. When I know ahead of time I’m going to be praying, I’ve sometimes written my prayers out. Even then they don’t sound that impressive, but at least they’re presentable. Please, God, help us remember no matter how we pray, the Holy Spirit makes even our most disorganized prayers acceptable to you.
My world is bursting with green! Green fields, green leaves and green grasses greet me everywhere. But have you noticed the greens aren’t all the same? Look closely and you’ll see what artists call sap green, which is green with more yellow in it, and emerald green and cobalt green and the list goes on and on. As my oak trees began to leaf out I saw olive green in their leaves. The cedar trees have a ting of blue in their green foliage. Green, of course, is the mixture of the primary colors of blue and yellow, but those colors can be mixed in a variety of ways. And, depending on where you live, in a cold, warm, dry or humid climate, the greens will be different. It’s a challenge for artists to try to capture all the colorful hues they see in nature. I say a challenge; it’s impossible to accurately put on canvas all the variations of color God created. He is the greatest artist and he loves variety!
There they go again, the couple walking their black poodle. The animal is not the toy size; he’s a standard poodle and at times a slight challenge for the woman to handle. So why isn’t the husband walking the dog? Because he is picking up trash along the roadway with what I call a grabber. He even goes down in the bar ditch if he sees a candy wrapper or soda can tossed there. A lot of dog lovers live in my community. Most are careful to pick up after their dogs while others act oblivious and walk on. This couple picks up after their dog and cleans up other people’s trash as well. They don’t live near me. I don’t know them, but by their actions I know I would like to.
Sometimes I wonder if anything I have ever done is truly original. Inspiration comes from so many sources, from everything I’ve seen and read and experienced. Much of what I’ve written was inspired from God’s Word, both during my career as a writer and editor and ever since. Family, friends and even those who have criticized or hurt me, all are sources who inspire my writing. As for my painting, I’ve seen and been influenced by workshops and art in museums around the world by the finest artists. I’m thinking none of us create anything original. When it comes right down to it, we, and all those who came before us, paint, sculpt or write about what God created, not anything we created.
My Swing Tree
Before we bought our home, I checked out the backyard. Does it have a swing tree? Yes, it did! That wasn’t the only reason we bought it, of course, but it was definitely a plus. I love that tree, so to show my appreciation I wrote an “ode” to it.
“I pray and meditate under your limbs. I named you my swing tree even though I cannot call you mine. I enjoy you as all those who have sat in your shade. Like the countless birds that have nested in your boughs or the innumerable squirrels that have played up and down your trunk, I will relax in my swing under your branches for a few years. You were here long before me and you will be here long after. Though I cannot claim you as mine, mighty oak, it is my turn to appreciate your favors now.”
I couldn’t resist. The babies were close to the water tank and windmill in the corner of the pasture near the road. After a quick turnaround, I parked as near as I could to take photos. Watching for snakes and hoping chiggers weren’t out yet, I walked over to the fence. While the mares grazed, one foal was taking a nap while two others had their heads over each other’s shoulders, scratching one another with their teeth. These little ones had already learned how to cooperate to solve the itchy back problem. It made me think, wouldn’t it be great if we humans were more cooperative in solving our problems. It’s not as if we don’t know how.