Tag Archive | Hope

Springtime in Maine by Ava Armstrong

From Christina: It is with great pleasure today that I welcome author Ava Armstrong to Time for Love. She’s sharing a few thoughts about springtime in New England. Enjoy!

 

Springtime in Maine

by Ava Armstrong

New England SpringSpring is a gradual process in Maine, but it always has the same effect on me, filling me with hope that better days will come. I have friends and family who escape to southern states to avoid the mud season. Being a New Englander, I couldn’t imagine missing the majesty of spring, watching the birds return and the Forsythia blooming brightly against the stark landscape of dried mud and naked trees. Early spring always makes me feel rejuvenated. This year, spring is arriving later than usual. Two days ago, walking in the front yard I noticed the beautiful Hyacinth, brightly purple, blooming. It was a pleasant surprise. The robins are now taking over the lawn. They are working busily to find food and build nests. Buds are forming on the trees, a yellow-green color, furled tightly still against the cool spring air. The sun will eventually coax the buds to open, always a glorious miracle to witness.

The ground is a soggy mess, but the grass is just starting to green ever so slightly. I tread lightly in my rubber slip on boots. The sound of stepping on the lawn makes a squishy sucking sound. There are some areas that the wind has dried up. The woodchucks are actively seeking prospects for food. They look like little balls of furry fat as they scurry out from underneath the garden shed. They are adorable but I will put the fence around the garden to discourage them.

The pine trees show signs of suffering through the harsh winter. This year we got 33 extra inches of snow, breaking a record I think. The bark is dark and there are sections missing. No doubt animals needed nourishment during the harsh cold spells. One tree in particular is very old. A colony of insects has taken up residence, it seems. One good thing about that is the ground water will be replenished by Mother Nature and there will be no drought conditions early in the season.

CrocusA few insects have already come to life awakening as if from a drunken stupor. On days when the wind dies down, the only sounds are the birds chirping and an occasional dog barking off in the distance. Adjusting my chair, I can usually find a windless place to sit in the sun and read a book for an hour or two, a wonderful pleasure missed during the cold indoor winter months.

Maybe that’s why a New Englander is so appreciative of these tiny, gradual changes. The long winter makes us appreciate every little bit of warmth so much more. The changing of the seasons follows the cycle of life, with spring representing the beginning of everything anew. It’s as if we can start over every year. Wipe the slate clean. Bring new people into our lives, make new friends, see something new every spring, plant new flowers or vegetables, read new books. Simple pleasures are most often the best. The simple pleasures of springtime are a salve for the soul.

My friends have e-mailed me from the southern climes telling me about how hot it is already. I feel like they are missing the greatest show on earth!

About Ava: 

Ava Armstrong lives in a small town in New England. An avid reader and gardener, she’s always found writing to be a enjoyable means of self-expression. She is a wife and mother who loves animals, especially dogs.

Her novel, A Sense of Duty, was recently published and is available at Amazon.

 

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Spring Brings Eternal Hope by Cindy Christiansen

Spring Flowers

 

Spring is God’s way of saying ‘One more time!’

– Robert Orben

 

 

 

 

Spring Brings Eternal Hope

by Cindy Christiansen

 

There is something magical about spring. The earth warms and brightens, seeds sprout and grow into a gorgeous colorful array of flowers, grass turns a vibrant green, and trees bud new leaves. I think more than any time of the year, spring gives me hope—a rebirth to accomplish new and wondrous things—to start anew.

Many celebrate each new year as a time to set goals and move forward. But there is something incredible about the rebirth of the earth that fills me with hope and optimism that life brings new choices and opportunities never before considered.

Reach out and touch those dreams. Wipe clean your slates and refresh your hearts. It’s a new day!

One of the first vegetables you can grow and harvest in the spring is peas! Oh, how I remember harvesting the peas early in the morning on our farm, sitting on the lawn grass underneath the shade trees podding peas. My older sister would eat more than she put into her bucket. My dad was just as bad. Mom would have to get after both of them. Soon the podding, blanching and packaging was complete, but Mom always saved a few out for a fresh pea salad. I share that recipe with you today in memory of happy spring days and future spring days that sprout new hopes, dreams and visions.

Fresh Pea Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh peas
  • 8 slices of bacon or 1/2 cup Hormel Real Crumbled Bacon
  • 2/3 cup chopped onions
  • 3/4 to 1 cup Ranch dressing
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 head lettuce

Directions:

1. If using strips of bacon: Cook bacon in skillet over medium heat until brown. Drain, crumble and set aside. If using already prepared bacon, measure 1/2 cup.

2. In a large bowl, combine and mix all the above ingredients except for lettuce.

3. Refrigerate pea dressing for 30 minutes or until chilled before serving. (We never can wait that long.)

4. Wash and dry lettuce (I use a salad spinner. Mom didn’t have one.) Tear lettuce into bite-size pieces in large bowl.

5. Pour pea dressing over lettuce and toss. Enjoy!

About Cindy: 

Cindy A. Christiansen writes sweet romance with humor, suspense…and dogs! With over thirty health issues and two autistic children, she struggles to write but finds it cathartic. She loves going where only her characters can take her. She loves dogs and always includes them in her books and features them on her covers. She donates time and money to organizations that help abused and abandoned dogs. She lives with her wonderful family and delightful dogs in West Jordan, UT.

 

On Becoming a Butterfly

It happens at least once each week — usually more often. I’ll be casually scrolling my way through post after post on Facebook, wading though a tireless stream of book promotions, personal rants and health updates, when suddenly my attention is caught by something beautiful.

My latest special find is this:

Butterfly

I fell in love with the image, the quote, and the inspiration contained in these few, simple words. At once, I was off on a search, curious about the author, Trina Paulus.

My first on-line searches turned up little information, only an additional quote about butterflies and flowers. Surely there must be more!

Hope for the Flowers

A little more searching finally led me to Goodreads, to Trina Paulus herself, and to an inspiring book first published over forty years ago. Sometimes I wonder where I’ve been in recent years. How could I have completely missed this little jewel?

From Goodreads:

 “Hope for the Flowers” is an inspiring allegory about the realization of one’s true destiny as told through the lives of caterpillars, Stripe and Yellow, who struggle to “climb to the top” before understanding that they are meant to fly.

I searched out the author profile to learn more and came across a delightful lady who believes in hope.  She describes her book as a novel “for adults and others  — including caterpillars who can read.”  She is an advocate of organic farming, composting, holistic health, and spiritual search.

Now on a quest to learn as much as possible about Trina Paulus, I discovered her website:

Hope for the Flowers

Let’s talk for a moment about this whole process of becoming a butterfly. It’s a scary thing, really, at least it surely must be when seen from the perspective of a lowly caterpillar. How frightening to think of soaring through the sky, of having to rely on a pair of fragile wings to keep from falling!

Oh, yes, how much easier instead to remain a caterpillar, to inch our way over the earth, maybe now and then dreaming about flying, but feeling safer and so much more secure in our comfortable skin.

Change is a fearsome thing, indeed. We yearn for it, but so often, we let our worries and doubts stand in the way. I’ve often heard it said that change only comes when “the pain of not-changing” becomes too great to bear. Sometimes, they seems to be true.

I’d like to think of change in a more positive sense, as something beautiful that comes into our lives, something good that we can create if we’re willing to let go of old ways.

To bring about true, lasting change — to reach for the skies and live our dreams — we really must have that desire to fly, a desire so strong that we are willing to give up being caterpillars.

Scary? Frightening? Fearsome? Change can be all of this…and more. It can also be awesome, incredible, wondrous, and beautiful.

And yes, I’ve already ordered a copy of the book.