Image     As my eye follows the line in the middle of the road, my peripheral vision catches the beauty of wild flowers along the roadside.  I look to the right and I see nothing but wildflowers making a statement for all to see. Mountaineer Country and Virginia’s untouched beauty shared by passers by could include Buttercups, Black-Eyed Susan’s, Dandelion’s, Day-Lillies and the wild carrot, also known as Queen Anne’s Lace.

     While walking the canal walk along the James River in Richmond, I caught a glimpse of this creamy, off-white color flower. I snapped a shot of a patch of this lacy looking flower and then I noticed one floral stem standing off in a distance away from the array of lace. This flower was growing along the river, directly under the railroad tracks, among the weeds. At the time, I didn’t know what type of flower I had just taken a picture of; but once I had googled the image, Queen Anne’s Lace was the matching wild weed.

     Although it is generally considered a wild weed, Queen Anne’s Lace has positive uses and is beneficial in the garden and yard. This wild weed fertilizes the soil, acts as shelter or a living mulch, increases moisture, repels pests while also attracting useful insects and can be used as food or other herbal resources. One of her unique qualities is there can be a simultaneous array of blossoming as she starts from a bud, to a wide-open flower, then to an umbrella shape and finally, closing up to make a tight, nest-like shape where seeds are formed. She belongs to the same family as the carrot and her roots even smell like carrots. She can be found along highways, bike trails, fields and along river banks, much like where I found this particular wild one.

     The legend behind the beautiful name states that Queen Anne, the wife of King James I, was challenged to create a lace as beautiful as a flower. While she was making the lace, her finger was pricked, and a drop of blood dripped onto the lace. If you look closely, this wild flower has a purple-red flower in the center of the lace, which supposedly, represents the blood droplet.

     As I look upon this ordinary and seemingly, unnoticed wild weed growing along a riverbank underneath a railroad track, I can’t help but realize how we can relate to this overlooked flower.

     At times, we all feel neglected, unnoticed, over-looked, pushed aside, unconsidered, ignored and unremembered…much like a wild flower growing along a riverbank. It’s our human nature to compare ourselves to others, want more, be more and feel worthy. But, much like a Queen Anne’s Lace, we sometimes live unnoticed. We live in a modest house, on a common street, in an ordinary neighborhood. We work overtime, feel underpaid and unappreciated and then wake up the next morning to do it all over again. Life seems much like a wild flower along the highway; quickly passed by with no regard to its beauty.

     May we trust and know God sees where we are and realize there is a purpose to where we are planted. May we all be like the Queen Anne’s Lace and be content with our God-given surroundings and use it to Glorify Him. May we use our lives and talents, no matter how ordinary, to bring beauty to those we pass by each day.  May we all Bloom where we are Planted!

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     Slowly came the night over the James River at Rocketts Landing.  Off in the distance, cars drove past the glowing red as the sun sets behind the bridge. With each click of the camera, the moment is captured in its splendid silence. Breathtaking is the glow of the western sky.

     Day after day, the beauty of the setting sun fades into the horizon and I wonder how often others enjoy the magic of the falling, ambient glow. Some say the sun is just an “ordinary” star which may be true…but it is the largest object in the solar system among 100 billion other stars in the galaxy.  According to research, if we could fit the earth inside the sun, it would fit approximately one million times. I find that extraordinary. The sun provides our light, heat, and energy on earth. Without the shine of the sun, we would be in complete darkness. The sun is and remains perfect in size, temperature, distance and illumination for us to survive on earth. The sun is constant, steadfast and continual while rising in the east and setting in the west. Even though the moon gives light, it is supported only through the reflection of the sun.

     As I sit and reflect on the amazing aspects of the sun, I can’t help but think of a word I heard on TV while channel surfing. The word propinquity was used as a term for “closeness” or “nearness.” Although the sun is 93 million miles away, its propinquity to earth is essential for our existence.

     Take a moment and imagine looking past the sun, past all the stars in the galaxy, past the 93 million miles. What would you see? I would hope you would see the Creator…the Creator of the breathtaking glow of the western sky. You would see the constant, steadfast, continual life-giving source from Heaven reflecting upon our very existence. The beauty in it all is that much like the illuminating, sustaining star which is 93 million miles away…God is also far away but yet His closeness is what gives us light in the darkness. The promise of God’s nearness is forever comforting. The promise of God’s nearness is not only about distance but more about completeness.

DOCK sunset 119

     As the sun sets in the western sky and its radiant glow fades into the horizon, remember the Creator and the Purpose of His Propinquity…..

Psalm 73:28

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Turn to the Sun

           As I slowly walked along the cobblestone path with camera in hand, my thoughts went back to a time and place from the past. The memory seemed so clear , as though it were just yesterday.

     It was late summer of 1981, Move-In Day as a freshman in college. My mind was full of clutter…overflow of cars, people with fast shoes, boxes (lots of boxes), suitcases, unfamiliar faces with even more unfamiliar laughter, and broken pieces of conversation as strangers hurried past. My world was about to change when change wasn’t wanted as a part of my world. I was a simple, small town girl wanting to return to her small town world where the Annual Frontier Days Carnival Celebration was the highlight of the town. 

     For those of you who don’t know me well, I was a person of very few talents and even fewer dreams. I was a “here-and-now” kind of girl with an average life who seemed to blend into the background. I remember how my college dorm room reflected the average in my life…a simple wall hanging, average decor and a plain, simple square patterned quilt for the small twin size bed.

     But, there was nothing average, plain or simple about the room across the hall and two doors down. I will never forget how my eyes fixed on this room, which seemed to reflect every color of the rainbow twice. In the far corner, so all could see, stood a tall, bright artificial sunflower. I had never seen anything so bright and energetic displayed in a bedroom. But then again, I had not been in very many bedrooms other than a handful of close friends and I don’t remember any rainbow reflections.

      I was never into flowers much but if I had been, I think the Rose would have been my pick. Also, I was never aware of the beauty of the Sunflower until that very moment I nonchalantly walked down that college dorm hallway. Just a glimpse of its yellow brought a sense of happiness that seemed to be lacking. My step seemed higher and my outlook was more optimistic.

     From the start, the Sunflower seed faces the rising sun in the east and with the proper soil, water and sunlight, will continue to grow facing the sun. Girasoli is the given name for the Sunflower, which in Italian, means “Turn to the Sun”.

     I regret the fact that I never took the time to thank the girl across the hallway and two doors down nor did I know her name.  By sharing this story, I hope you recognize the special people surrounding you that add the yellow in your life. Realize that with a strong foundation, a positive mind-set and enjoying the good that surrounds you; much like the Sunflower, you can live life looking upward toward the sun. Don’t miss the Sunflower Moments!

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