Wakey, Wakey

I awoke this morning, with this children’s nursery rhyme in my head…Wakey, wakey rise and shine. You’ve had your sleep and I’ve had mine. I smiled, remembering the sing-sing chant. And glancing at the sunlight streaming in through the window, it was fitting. This was Wake the Garden Day, a celebratory holiday of my own making. It falls on different dates each year, depending on the weather and the severity of the winter. After a cold February with more than usual rain, snow and ice, Wake the Garden Day landed in March…on March 9, apparently!

Wakey Wakey A Gardening Story

I love this day for several reasons:

Although spring isn’t here yet officially, it’s rapidly approaching. This day of prepping the garden for the return of grasses, flowers and herbs signals that we’ve made it through another winter. The cold temps will soon be behind me and warmer, longer days are approaching. In fact, we switch to daylight savings time this weekend.

It’s great to spend the day in the garden. I leave up dry ornamental grasses and dead flower stalks, to create interest in my backyard paradise. The garden in winter has its own beauty. The brown, gray and tan remnants of last year’s season contrast with the snow or glisten with ice. That means as spring nears, there are many tasks to carry out: cutting back grasses, clearing away dead stalks, dividing plants that have grown too big and general clean up. It’s messy, hard work…and it is so rewarding!

Wakey Wakey A Gardening Story

Wakey Wakey A Gardening Story

Wakey Wakey A Gardening Story

As we worked, I was grateful for bright sunshine, sturdy work gloves, the right tools for the different jobs, and Greg’s assistance. The ornamental grasses were trimmed back and the bigger ones, divided. I left volunteer grasses growing in the garden from last fall. Those were all dug up today and bagged. I have 20 or more plants to give away.

Wakey Wakey A Gardening StoryOrnamental grasses nursery!

Wakey Wakey A Gardening StoryAnd a huge pile of trimmings to burn, on a less windy day.

Wakey Wakey A Gardening Story

I love this day because the results from our work are so immediate. It feels wonderful to clean up the beds and inspect for new growth. And it was evident. As we trimmed and cut away and raked, bright green shoots were uncovered. Tiny leaves are appearing on Russian sage plants and lemon balm and bee balm are pushing through the mulch in little clusters. The garden is stirring and that makes my heart sing.

Wakey Wakey A Gardening Story

Wakey Wakey A Gardening Story

Wakey Wakey A Gardening Story

As I observed the bare ground and tidied beds, after hours of work, I realized what I love most about singing wakey wakey to the garden. It teaches trust and deepens my faith. The straggling, messy remains from last summer are gone. The garden appears to be very empty. But I know, tucked beneath the earth’s surface, the roots of plants are awakening, gathering nutrients and strength, preparing to grow.

Every spring, I witness the miraculous…the return of life, of beauty. No matter how long the winter seems to last, it gives way, with grace, to spring, to rebirth. And where there appears to be nothing…in a couple of months there will be lush growth and riotous color. It’s never the exact same garden, as it shifts year to year, and yet it is always gorgeous.

Wakey Wakey A Gardening StoryLast year’s garden.

Wakey Wakey A Gardening Story

Wakey Wakey A Gardening Story

I am moved every year by the transformation.

I have a few more tasks to complete tomorrow…a lilac bush to trim back and the raised vegetable garden bed to prep. And then I wait and I watch. I’ll walk through the garden daily, softly singing wakey, wakey…and greet each plant, each flower that awakens into life with a joyful smile. Welcome back, my garden.

“Gardening is an active participation in the deepest mysteries of the universe.”

Thomas Berry

Wakey Wakey A Gardening Story

Getting the Weeds Out

Weeding is an essential gardening chore. When I water in the evenings, I pull a few, in an attempt to keep up with the abundance of over growth. Weeds thrive in the garden as well as the flowers and herbs do.

This time of year is tricky. The hot muggy days make it challenging to spend the time outside that is necessary to keep up with the weeds. And those errant grasses and scrubby plants love the higher temps and humidity. I usually fall behind. This year, the section that got away from me, again, was the entrance into the backyard, just beyond the peace gate. The arrival of a few cooler days spurred me to don my gardening clothes and tackle the overdue task.

As I surveyed the weedy mess, I deliberately pushed away the idea of learning anything as I worked. Couldn't I just zone out? When I encounter resistance, it is my signal that I am leaving the flow. Apparently when I entered the garden, I entered the classroom as well. What was here for me today?

Below are my thoughts, in italics, my lessons as I cleared this area of weeds, accompanied by pics.

A really healthy crop of weeds makes it difficult to see the ground cover and paving stones in this section. I feel a pang of guilt and shame. I should have kept up with this better. Energetically, this area feels choked and cluttered, not the welcoming feeling I desire as people enter the garden.

The first step in removing unwanted "weeds" from my life, is recognizing that they are there. And I must understand that they are what they are. I don't need to berate myself. Instead, I can focus on what I am feeling energetically about these things that have cropped up in my life. Choked? Crowded? Overwhelmed?

Some of the weeds have a beauty of their own, like this wildflower. However, this plant is competing for sunlight, space and nutrients with the creeping jenny plants sharing the same area. I choose to eliminate the wildflowers, so that the ground cover succeeds in flourishing and covering this section.

Not every weed in my life is bad. It is a matter of choice. I can eliminate things that are good, in and of themselves, but that are competing for my time, space and energy with things that serve me better.

If I only focus on the weeds, I miss what lies beneath them. This is why it is essential to carefully remove the grasses that crowd and conceal, so that the plants can reveal their beauty.

I don't want to focus overly much on the weeds in my life. I want to look beyond them to the beauty that is there. I can focus on the weed of impatience, for example, and justify it as a sign that I value my time. But looking beneath, I can discover the beauty of allowing…allowing things to unfold as they will…allowing people to be who they are and trusting that all is well.

Most of the weeds are easily pulled from the ground, as their roots are shallow. These plants truly are interlopers that spring up quickly. When I encountered a tuft of grass that clung more tenaciously to the earth, using a hand trowel helped to loosen its grip.

The interlopers in my life have shallow roots as well, if I become aware of them quickly and remove them. When a stubborn habit or time waster or fear inducing thought wants to cling to my space, or my heart, I have tools that help with removal: chatting with a trusted friend, prayer, meditation, self care, choosing for my highest good, consistency, journaling, walking in nature.

Look at the differencein this area, after methodically removing every weed, clover and clump of grass. The energy feels completely different, and I wasn't the only one who noticed. Butterflies began flitting about and there were none here before I began weeding. And not one, but two dragonflies appeared to check my work out. The space, free from clutter, felt inviting. I returned to it over and over, just to enjoy the beauty of it. I felt a great sense of accomplishment.

I can feel that same energy, that sense of my life opening up, and becoming more inviting and welcoming, when I am diligent about keeping my heart and soul clear. When I am methodical about removing unwanted habits or thoughts that clutter my personal space, that sense of accomplishment feels amazing. More good things are attracted into my life.

This was the most beautiful result from weeding the entrance to the garden. As I tugged the last clump of crabgrass from the ground, I inhaled the earthy scent of sage. Suddenly I realized I was lightly grasping the Russian sage plant to my left. It was as if we were holding hands. I felt a wave of gratitude wash over me and tears filled my eyes. Was the gratitude coming from the sage plant? Did it feel the change in energy that clearing the space brought? It was an interesting idea, since burning dried sage is a way of clearing a room of negative energy. I tenderly held the sage, feeling great joy, and then I kissed it and released the plant. Were the neighbors watching? I didn't care!

Gratitude is such a vital part of my journey. When weeds pop up in my space and my life, they bring opportunities for lessons, and growth. I hope that the gratitude I express as I live in clarity and beauty releases an unmistakable aroma of joy, peace and love.

The garden looks great this evening. I feel delight, and satisfaction and yes, gratitude. How grateful I am that I allowed the garden to instruct me today. What powerful lessons I learned as I pulled weeds and basked in the sun and received love from a sage plant. Every time I walked by that Russian sage plant, after we held hands, its long fragrant stems wrapped around my legs or tangled with my feet. That has not happened before. It was like a child, eagerly expressing love by wrapping her arms around my legs. I love you too, Sage, I whispered.

I'm headed out now to give Sage a goodnight hug.

Calling All Dragonflies

I love how today's inspiration unfolded. The cooler weather encouraged me to do two things: go for a walk this morning, and spend time in the garden late this afternoon. Greg accompanied me on a walk at Mercy Park. We found painted rocks, that we hid again. And we were buzzed by an unexpected visitor.

The Missouri Conservation Department just posted an article about this being a banner year for dragonflies. The right combination of water temperature and availability of food has occurred, providing the ideal environment for dragonflies to transform from their water nymph stage to flying dragonflies. Greg and I were discussing that article as we walked around the park, when we spotted the first dragonfly…a black one.

I see all kinds of dragonflies in this area, with blue and green being the most common colors. Black isn't as common but I see them occasionally. They are strikingly beautiful. This one flitted by and was gone. As we rounded a curve on the walking path another dragonfly appeared, hovering before us at eye level. To my amazement, this delicate creature was bright red. I have never seen a red dragonfly before. It flew along in front of us and then darted off. Incredibly, a short time later, my car was buzzed by a yellow dragonfly. It kept pace with the car for a few moments, flying directly over the windshield, before lifting up and away. I have never seen a yellow dragonfly either, before today.

Three unusual dragonflies, in a short time span, seemed significant to me. In fact, I kept thinking about those gorgeous insects and their unique coloring. Late this afternoon, as I prepared to work in the backyard garden, I wondered how I could encourage dragonflies to visit my little paradise. Inspiration appeared, to guide me.

I have had several items stored in my utility room for more than a year, while I figured out what to do with them. The tile covered discs came from Greg's parents' house. Apparently it was a "thing" in the 60s, to cover metal disc harrowing blades with decorative tile. My mom used to have one of these discs. Leta Moore had three of them. As I thought about the dragonflies, the idea came to use the discs in the garden, tucking them into various spots and then filling the shallow containers wth water.

The back of one disc, and the decorative tops of two others.

My intention is to draw dragonflies to the garden by providing the water-filled discs. I have spotted dragonflies hovering near cups of tea on the brickio. I don't have a birdbath, because…well, cats…so I am hoping the dragonflies will be drawn to these little pools of still water. I'll fill the discs each evening when I water flowers in containers.

I placed two of the discs on the ground in the garden. One will receive direct sunlight. The other is tucked into a more shady area. The third disc I placed on the brickio, near lemon balm. I'll see which of the locations the dragonflies prefer.

Because I fully expect dragonflies to appear. As I pulled weeds and watered plants in their assortment of containers, the words from the movie, Field of Dreams, scrolled through my brain. If you build it, they will come. His dream was a baseball diamond. Today, my dream is a dragonfly habitat. Belief is the common thread between the two.

I believe. In 2012, Believe was my word for the year. The dragonfly was my symbol. I learned a great deal that year about belief and intuition and journeying with faith. I also learned that the dragonfly symbolizes walking in two worlds, physical reality and the spirit realm. What a perfect symbol for me. I have walked in both worlds since my childhood.

The appearance of dragonflies, red ones in particular I discovered today, are also symbolic of the presence of a departed loved one, especially around the anniversary of their passing. Tomorrow is the two year anniversary of the death of my father-in-law, Bob. I like to believe that all these events from today are connected together. And Bob was saying hello…and, oh by the way, use the discs in the garden.

I sat in the garden as the sun set, my cat Shy Boy curled on my lap. The beauty of that peaceful space is such a balm to my heart and soul. I inhaled the scents of lemon balm, lavender, basil, mint and thyme, carried to me by a cooling breeze. We watched butterflies and grasshoppers and spiders and crickets in the garden. Shy turned to watch me as I softly called out to the dragonflies, inviting them to come, welcoming them to the garden.

I'll carry my morning juice and smoothie out to the garden tomorrow to check the water in the discs and watch for visitors. The dragonflies will come. I believe.

Going Bohemian in My Backyard 

I am writing my blog post tonight, while sitting in a bohemian tent in my backyard garden. An almost full moon is sliding across the summer sky. I have candles lit and a pot of lemon balm tea near by. Young Living lavender oil is scenting the air, along with the herbs and flowers growing in my garden. I colored in one of my coloring books until it got too dark to see. This…is…bliss. 

Going Bohemian in the Backyard
Inspiration led me here. 

The answer to the question, How shall we play today? seemed to involve coloring. I thought I might gather coloring books and my colored pencils and relax on my bed while a movie played in the background. However, my mind skittered away from that thought whenever I contemplated the idea. 

As I was doing a bit of weeding in the backyard garden, late in the afternoon, I paused, soaking in the beauty surrounding me. Or maybe, I thought, I will light candles in the garden tonight instead. At that moment, the funny quote that says “If you need me, I’ll be in my blanket fort coloring…” came to mind. And with it, the image of a bohemian style tent made out of vintage quilts and linens. 

Yes…yes! There it was. Inspiration, and the day’s creative activity, which included coloring after all. 

Going Bohemian in the Backyard

I created my own boho tent, using one of Greg’s adjustable metal ladders as the frame. A wooden one would work just as well, or two chairs placed back to back. 

Going Bohemian in the Backyard
I layered on the quilts and tablecloths. Bohemian or boho style is about layering. I have many vintage quilts and lace tablecloths that once belonged to Greg’s grandmothers. I gravitated toward a yellow and cream color scheme. 

Initially I had a quilt forming the back wall of the tent, however I realized that might make the interior too warm. I swapped out the quilt for a lace tablecloth, to allow air to circulate. I draped and adjusted until I was pleased with the look, tucking in corners and edges to secure the quilts. I only used one clothespin. I folded a couple of thick quilts to create the floor of the tent and added two small pillows for comfort. 

Going Bohemian in the Backyard
Candles are a must for me. They create such a soft, beautiful atmosphere. Although it is hard to tell from the photos, the candles are all a safe distance away from flammable materials. All of the candles are also in containers, except for the three on candlesticks. I added candles behind the tent as well, so that they would shine through the lace cloth. (Use caution in creating your own boho setting, if using candles, and never leave them unattended.)

Going Bohemian in the Backyard
Going Bohemian in the Backyard
I set up a vintage metal tray to hold a pot of freshly brewed tea, using lemon balm from my garden. 

Going Bohemian in the Backyard

Going Bohemian in the Backyard
What a magical evening. After coloring, I turned so that my back rested against the pillows piled along one side of the ladder, enjoying the candlelight, the night song of insects and frogs, and the cool breeze. I sipped my tea and smiled often as I peeked out the tent opening. 

As a little girl, I loved making blanket tents. The coziness and intimacy within appealed to me. Tonight, I am wondering why I haven’t done this more often. This simple pleasure brings joy to my heart and gladness to my soul. And my inner child thinks this is the best night ever! 

Going Bohemian in the Backyard
Oscar Wilde wrote, “With freedom, books, flowers and the moon, who could not be happy?” 

I would include…and candlelight and a boho tent. Happiness indeed. 

Mr Toad’s House

This afternoon I seized an opportunity to get outside and into the garden. Thunderstorms last night meant mild temps today and a ground that was easily worked after a good soaking. I had weeding to do and a few plants to tuck into containers. And, I had a fun project I wanted to do while I was playing in the garden. 

Mr Toads House

Even though pulling weeds is more work than play, I enjoyed cleaning up the borders and containers. Vigilance is necessary to stay ahead of weeds that pop up everywhere. These pesky plants are thriving as well, with the abundant rain that we’ve had followed by days of sunshine. There is satisfaction gained, at least, by completing that chore. 

More fun is planting flowers. I’ve had a remnant of plants, left over after planting containers. My goal this afternoon was to get them all into pots or into the ground. I moved several stumps, left over from the downed maple tree, into the front yard, placing them near the swing. I have deep appreciation for the garden gifts this old tree provided. Flowers were slipped into the hollowed out sections, after I filled those spaces with potting soil. 

Mr Toads House
Mr Toads House   Rilynn is sure this new arrangement is for her. 

Finally, it was playtime in the garden! I have an assortment of insects and small critters that make my garden their home. Not all of them are desirable. Japanese Beetles are a problem right now. However, I encourage bees, ladybugs, praying mantises and spiders to share my backyard paradise. They help to keep the “bad” bugs under control. 

Another helper that is welcome in my garden is the toad. I’ve seen several the last few seasons. I want to encourage them to linger. My grandsons, Joey and Oliver, are expert toad house builders. They build the houses and the toads find them. My creative play today was to create a couple of toad houses in my backyard garden. 

Mr Toads House
Mr Toads House
Remembering what my grandsons taught me about building a toad house, I dug out a shallow hole, and scattered a bit of mulch in the bottom. I have plenty of bricks and thin slabs of concrete that I can use. These materials were repurposed into the walls and roofs of two toad houses. 

As I was cleaning up after an afternoon of working in the garden, I noticed a bin of small river rocks. I felt inspiration’s tap. I had an idea and those rocks were perfect. 

Mr Toads House
Mr Toads House
Using colored markers, I created “vacancy” signs for my little toad houses. My realtor side was amused by those mini advertisements! And since I am confident toads will find the houses, I drew a frog and a toad on the other sides of the rocks, for when the houses are no longer vacant. 

I think my grandsons will be pleased with my toad houses! I had fun playing, and creating, and the project will encourage more visitors to come to the garden. I am looking foward to meeting my new little neighbors. 

Mr Toads House

Summer Colors

Summer is about to begin! In a strange twist, the season shifts late this evening, or very early in the morning, depending on the time zone. Here in Joplin, in the US, summer officially begins tonight at 11:24 pm. Yes…after the sun goes down. No matter! Summer is upon us. 

It is a bit confusing whether today’s Summer Solstice was the longest day, or if tomorrow will get that designation. Either way, I was grateful for the extra minutes of sunlight, after a busy day. I needed to water the garden. 

Summer Colors
I simply adore being in the garden as the sun is setting. The heat evaporates out of the air. The colors are vivid. It truly is the most beautiful time to appreciate the flowers and plants. 

I’ve neglected my garden a bit lately. This is a busy time of year for realtors. I definitely need to pluck out some weeds and plant a few more flowers. However, does my garden hold a grudge? No. It is a wild and gorgeous thing right now, with brilliant colors erupting in the beds and containers and borders. The flowers do what they are created to do. They bloom…joyfully it seems. 

Summer Colors
Summer Colors
Summer Colors
As I watered containers, and pulled weeds, I allowed the wildness of the garden to call to me. Something untamed in me rose to answer that call. I too am doing what I am created to do, growing, blooming, offering who I am in response to life, and light, and roots that have gone deep. 

Summer Colors
Summer Colors
Summer Colors
Before the sun disappeared completely, my garden and I welcomed summer. I accepted the peace and contentment that washed over me. I marveled at the riotous colors that didn’t compete but complemented each other. I opened my heart to all the promises of the season. I expressed deep gratitude. 

Jenny Uglow wrote, “We might think we are nurturing our garden, but of course it’s our garden that is really nurturing us.”

My garden nurtured me tonight, on the eve of summer. As dusk deepened, I gathered fresh mint from the herb garden for a celebratory cup of tea. I toast you, golden summer. Welcome. 

Summer Colors

Garden Vlog

After a wonderful weekend spent working in the backyard garden, I created my first Vlog this evening. Take a walk with me through my garden, in the cool of the day!

Garden Vlog


So, after I created my first Vlog, I realized I made a  mistake, thanks to a kind YouTube viewer. I didn’t film in Landscape mode, which definitely would have been better! I normally do record in that wider mode, so I am not sure what happened this evening, other than I was racing against the setting sun. Next time, I will switch to the wide angle Landscape mode.

I hope you enjoyed walking with me in my beautiful and serene garden. The plants and flowers are growing and filling in. I will do a nighttime garden stroll soon…and one later in the season so you can see how much the garden has grown and changed.

Thanks for watching!

If you missed yesterday’s post, that I referenced in the video, click the link HERE

Soaking Up the Sunshine

This time of year, I have to grab time in the sunshine when I can. With two days of chilly, overcast weather behind me and the threat of thunderstorms ahead through the weekend, today’s warm temps and abundant sunshine was a special gift. 

Soaking Up the Sunshine

Most of my spring vignettes are completed indoors. I still have a vintage suitcase and a small tabletop awaiting my creative touch. 

Soaking Up the Sunshine
The dining room table features vintage Easter pieces handpainted by Greg’s mom and rustic country accents. 

Soaking Up the Sunshine
Even small spaces, like this little antique chair seat, gets a vignette. 

I wanted to enjoy this day of sunshine, sandwiched between days of rain. The front porch transformation was completed. 

Soaking Up the Sunshine
Soaking Up the Sunshine
As I finished the reset, I decided to heed the advice printed on my colorful front porch sign: RELAX. Relaxing in the mild sunshine, in my newly awakening backyard garden, with a cup of hot tea, sounded like bliss to me. 

Soaking Up the Sunshine
Fresh thyme is already available in my herb garden. I picked a sprig of this aromatic herb and steeped a cup, creating a fragrant, healthy tea. Thyme is a powerful antiviral herb, destroying a host of illness causing viruses, including flu. It is so easy to grow in the garden and returns year after year. 

Soaking Up the Sunshine

I use a mesh strainer in a porcelain mug to brew fresh herbs. See link below to order one for yourself. Steep thyme, covered, in hot water for 15-20 minutes. Sweeten with raw local honey if desired. I drink mine plain. 

Soaking Up the Sunshine
This was the bright spot in my day, literally…sitting in the sunshine in my backyard, a cup of thyme tea and book two in the Harry Potter series nearby. My cat Rilynn checked out my tea and settled at my feet. 

Soaking Up the Sunshine
Soaking Up the Sunshine
Peace and contentment surrounded me as surely as the sunshine did, warming my heart and soul. I saw my first butterfly of the season this afternoon and birds called to me as they soared overhead. I deeply appreciate the restorative properties of nature and no where more so than here, in my own backyard garden. 

There is a saying, from an author unknown, “Sometimes inspiration comes from a single ray of sunshine.” I understood that today. Soaking up the sunshine, I felt inspired in many ways. Ideas seemed to flow within those bright beams of light, and open to receive them, they took root in my fertile imagination. 

Those last two vignettes came together in my mind, inspired by a perfect spring day, carried to me on beams of sunlight. 

Soaking Up the Sunshine
Order your own brewing mug here:

I am an Amazon Affiliate and may earn a commission on purchases, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for considering making a purchase of this product, or any other items, through my Amazon link! 

You Say Tomato…I Say, Where Did That Come From? 

During its three summers of existence, my backyard garden continually surprises me. Flowers spread out and pop up in unexpected places. Plants that I thought had died resurrect the following spring. A basil plant shows up in a metal container in the middle of a group of calendula. The brown eyed Susan patch forms a huge heart. 

I love the surprises! I enjoy a daily stroll through the garden, watering as needed, pulling the occasional weed, crooning to my beauties, and looking for the unexpected. 

As I was working in the garden a couple of weeks ago, I reached for a weed that had sprouted near the fence. I hesitated. The plant looked suspiciously familiar. Pinching off a leaf I sniffed it. The distinctive scent of tomato filled my nostrils. 

A volunteer tomato? I haven’t grown tomatoes in my backyard for more than 20 years. Where did this plant come from? Last year, I had a volunteer gooseberry bush start in the same spot. I either have a magical plot of ground in my garden…or this spot is perfectly placed for the birds that fly over. Birds eat seeds, fruit and veggies…and then they poop. I believe I’ve been graced with a healthy tomato plant that arrived via bird poop! 

I long ago recognized that my garden symbolizes life. There are surprises and unexpected offerings along the path of life too. And sometimes, doo doo shows up. However, just as in my garden, I can look at these surprises as gifts to delight me or annoyances to trouble me. Something wonderful can even grow out of a poopy situation. It’s all dependent on how I view what’s going on. 

And I choose to see the good in all situations and the unexpected surprise as a unique opportunity to expand my thinking and my heart. In the case of the mysterious tomato plant, dotted now with tiny yellow blooms that will turn into fruit, I say “thank you” to the bird who left this particular surprise. I accept the gift. And the lesson. 

Day of Remembrance: Joplin Tornado

Today is the fifth anniversary of the Joplin tornado. On this date, and day, in 2011, a massive EF5 tornado devastated the communities of Joplin and Duquesne. Considered one of the biggest and deadliest tornadoes in the past 70 years, this storm destroyed a third of my town, injured more than a thousand people and killed 161. 

This year, being the five year anniversary, there were many activities and times of both remembrance and celebration. I participated in several of those. 

Today I have been in a quiet, reflective mood, somber yet hopeful. I was grateful for the bright sunny day, with no threat of storms. And I was appreciative of the celebrations and memorial service held at Cunningham Park. I attended the wonderful lunch that Operation BBQ Relief provided for hundreds and mingled with others while listening to music provided by Carter Hulsey and Kenny Foster. 

I’ve shared in previous posts about my experiences the day of the tornado and about Joplin’s resilience. Rather than sharing my words in this post today, here are pictures that captured the event at Cunningham Park:

The 161 memorial trees planted in Cunningham Park are big enough now to provide shade. 

It was good to gather with others at the park today. Good to see people I know and exchange greetings and hugs. I am thankful for all that people offered this week, to honor those who died and to celebrate the spirit of this community. 

And, I made the decision not to attend the remembrance service at the park. My own backyard garden was calling to. I sought the peace and sanctuary of that beautiful, peaceful space, to remember on my own. 

Watching the movie A Little Chaos recently inspired me to light candles throughout my garden. Tonight,  I wanted to do that, create pockets of light, and build a small fire in the fire pit, in honor of those lost in the storm. I didn’t have 161 candles to light. But the 25 or so that I lit were for them. 

Here are photos of my quiet time of remembering:

I felt restored after my time in the garden, with its warm candlelight and enchantment, and at peace. Although I feel sorrow around the events of May 22, 2011, the heaviness has gone. 

I’ll never forget what happened or the people lost. Nor do I want to. Their lives are part of the fabric of this community, their stories woven with ours, inseparable. The tornado too, is part of us, part of our story. On one seemingly ordinary day, that storm turned our world upside down and  revealed who we are, at our core. We are compassionate. We are overcomers. We are strong. We are Joplin Strong.