Buds and Blossoms

Our peonies are blooming! Oh, what a glorious sight! The only sad part about these beauties, is that they have little to no fragrance. But as one friend said, what they lack in fragrance, they certainly make up for in their stunning color.

These peonies reminded me how we sometimes expect things to be a certain way because of their outward appearance. When we purchased these bulbs years ago, we probably would have passed them by had we known this variety was missing the signature fragrance we have come to love. But if we passed them by, we would have missed these gigantic showy blooms greeting us in May. Now they are a showpiece in our garden, and I look forward to them every year.

I took a walk around the yard after church today, and just had to take a few more photos of some of the flowers in bloom. Our daughter planted foxglove under our mailbox and beneath the cherry tree. They are all in full bloom now, as are the yellow Knock Out roses. We weren’t sure they would survive their first winter, but they came back stronger than ever and are bursting with roses!

All these gorgeous flowers come as a reward for enduring the long, cold winter. I’m certain springtime blossoms are appreciated even more by those living in the snow belt states!

It’s hard to believe a week ago we were struggling to hit 50 degrees and even turned our heat back on at night. It’s currently 88 degrees today in Ashburn, VA, with increasing humidity. You would think after living here for over 20 years we would be accustomed to this leap into summertime temperatures each spring. But I’ll sure take this over the damp, rainy days of April!

Wherever you are, and whatever your weather may be, I hope you are enjoying a lovely spring day.

Have a blessed week ahead!

Love in Action

Writing this blog each week can sometimes be a challenge, but I love writing and scheduling this time is a necessary discipline. It helps me to ponder what is important in life, and what I might in turn share with you.

During my morning devotion time, I usually check my YouVersion Bible app to read the verse of the day. Today’s verse was, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans‬ ‭12:12‬) As I often do, I decided to continue on and read the entire chapter of Romans 12.

Throughout this chapter, we find guidance on how to love one another deeply and intentionally. Even our enemies! This isn’t just “old school” or ancient teaching. Although I’ve read this chapter many times, this morning I was struck by how  badly we need these instructions today.

In the NIV translation, verses 9-21 are entitled “Love in Action”.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:9-21‬

That is a lot to take in, but oh, my! If we could embrace these instructions as we go about our daily lives, think how this world could be changed.

How will you put love into action this week?