Thursday, July 20, 2017

A Tale of Two Gardens

I have never successfully grown a plant.  Ever.  I've tried growing houseplants, miniature indoor rose plants, African Violets (yes, I know those are tough), and even succulents...SUCCULENTS.  The plant that NOBODY can kill, but I can.  My one and only succulent did last about 3 months, which is a longer life than my other attempts at green thumbing.

I'm not an outdoor girl, so I don't even want to attempt to try and keep a garden alive.  That's like spinning plates, right?  I can't keep one potted something alive, how in the world would I keep three or four different plants growing.  The one thing I've had success growing is butterflies, so I'll give myself the moniker of crazy butterfly lady because I won't be a crazy cat lady...I don't like cats.

Even though I can't grow those beautiful flowers or budding plants, I do love flowers. They are so fragrant and colorful.  The other night I was walking down the sidewalk of a local outdoor shopping center and noticed the large urns of flowers they had planted along the way.  Man, I wanted to just go "snip, snip" and take a bouquet home, but I figured if there would be anyone that would get caught stealing fresh flowers, it would be me. 

Recently I was asked to be on the launch team for Sophie Hudson's newest book, "All in All: A Journaling Devotional."  If you've never read her work, let me stop a moment and tell you to go order all her books.  She writes like she talks and she's southern through and through, but most importantly she loves Jesus.  This new devotional journal is targeted to youth and college age girls but as I'm going through each of the 100 days, I'm enjoying her perspective on how Jesus truly is our All in All.

She mentioned how perfectly God has placed us in this world with the glory of sunrises and the calming beauty of sunsets.  God could have decided to just turn the lights off and on, but He didn't.  Sophie reminded me that He chose to place us in this beautiful garden on Earth.  That got me looking around for the uniqueness of His Creation.  I really did stop and smell the roses - or gardenias or whatever was in that large shopping center urn.  

That got me thinking about the first garden...Eden.  We really blew that one.  Adam and Eve had it perfect...truly perfect.  But the desire to be like God and not be obedient, caused them to be cast out of that perfect place.  And they lived with a list of other things God told them as consequences for their sin.  

We focus a lot on how we live in a broken world - and we do.  And how we won't experience that perfection again until Jesus returns to bring the world back in order - and that's true.  But think about this.  We live in a garden.  Oh, it has sinful people, horrid tragedies, and brokenness at every corner.  But really look around.  We DO live in a garden.  God could have place us in a dark and dreary place.  But we have gorgeous sunsets, white sandy beaches, fragrant flowers, a bright sun that rises majestically, and even caterpillars that turn to butterflies.  We are blessed.  How much does God love us that He would place us in just a smidgen of the wonderfulness of His Creation to prepare us for that day when we'll live in a New Earth that is beyond our imagination?  One garden that's perfect.  One garden that's broken.  One Rescuer to come again to restore us to perfection.  

Monday, June 12, 2017

You Lyft Me Up

Last week I traveled to the Bay Area of California to spend the week at my company's headquarters.  I hadn't been out west for probably two and a half years, so I was overdue for a visit.  In the past, I normally rented a car since I had the free time to meet other friends for dinner or travel out to the ocean.  This trip wasn't going to afford that luxury, so I opted to go a different route.  Uber or Lyft.

Because of my Type A/OCD tendencies, I did thorough research on each.  Who has the best ratings?  What issues have come up in the past?  Essentially, I wanted to choose the best option for my needs.  After all my research, I decided to go with Lyft.  

My first ride was from the airport to the hotel.  I ordered my Lyft through the handy dandy app and once my ride was claimed, I received a picture of the driver, the model of their car and license plate number.  In exchange, the driver received my name and picture.  Valerie was my driver and not long after she claimed my ride, she called me to confirm my location.  Good thing she did, because I entered it incorrectly.  All ride share apps like Uber and Lyft pick up from the Departures level.  Knowing you are on that level is one thing, but what Terminal and what door is vital for them to find you.  Valerie pulled up, hopped out of the car, and was super nice.  She loaded my bags and off we went.  I even sat in the front seat!  We had a great conversation on the way to the hotel and I told her she made my first ride the best!  

The remainder of the week I was a Lyft Pro.  All the drivers were nice - I did have one that didn't speak English.  I had to quickly say "No hablo espanol" so he knew I was not going to be a great communicator, although I did say "Gracias" when I exited the car.  This service was a game changer.  I never had to wait more than 4 minutes for a ride and it always took me door to door.  And, the cost was so much cheaper than a rental car.  I realize my company pays for these things while I travel, but I try to be a frugal employee.  

Even though I didn't use Uber, many of the drivers I had with Lyft also work for Uber.  The downside of Uber is you can't tip in the app.  Now, many resources tell you that you don't need to tip these drivers, but I like to, especially when they are quick to load up my luggage.  If you are traveling, and especially in large cities, I can't recommend Lyft and Uber enough.  

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Butterfly Love Shack

As mentioned in my last blog post, I received a butterfly garden to raise my own butterflies through the miraculous wonder of metamorphosis.  I'm happy to report that three of the five butterflies made it out and released to the world on Memorial Day - celebrating the land of the free!

I received my cup of caterpillars on May 10 and released them on May 29.  That means in just 19 days I saw this transformation first hand.  To say I enjoyed it would be an understatement.  Aside from my 8-year-old tendencies at times, this seemed to satisfy my longing for a pet (even though you can't cuddle a caterpillar or butterfly) and was low maintenance.  Plus, I feel like I contributed to nature by releasing them to do what they do for perfect balance in the way God created them.

Once the butterflies emerge from the cocoon, you have four days to nurture them and feed them sugar water, which is about the easiest thing to provide.  I was so glad that all this happened over a long weekend because that meant I could watch them flutter in their habitat and feed them more often.  After this experience, I think I'm going to do this all summer and just order more caterpillars.  I'm not becoming old and a cat lady but old and a lepidopterist.  

One small surprise during this process occurred Sunday evening.  I went to refill the sugar water feeder and found a butterfly clung to the top of the habitat.  Normally when I unzip it, they fly to the bottom.  This time, they didn't.  And I was missing a butterfly when I counted.  I first thought this poor butterfly clinging to the roof of the netted habitat was dead.  And then I looked closer.  It appeared two butterflies had become one.  And, were mating.  Yep.  Seriously.  My butterfly garden had turned into the Love Shack.  I googled "Butterflies mating" to ensure my guess was correct.  And it was.  I had already planned to release them the next day, but I really needed to do it the next day now because the next step in that parade is the female butterfly nesting and laying her 100 eggs.  I enjoy raising butterflies...but not 100.  

Not only have I become a lover of raising butterflies, I've become a butterfly matchmaker.  My insects are getting more action than I am.  

Monday, May 15, 2017

Musings of the Week: Butterflies, PhDs, and Summertime!

Butterflies - I received a butterfly garden from Amazon last week to take my first stab at raising butterflies.  Yes, I'm way beyond the age range on the package, but I've watched YouTube families do this and found it so fascinating I wanted to try it myself.  For just $27, you get everything you need (including caterpillars) to raise Painted Lady Butterflies.  After 3-4 weeks, when they are ready for release, the habitat and feeding tray can be used again and again....all I need to do is buy the cup 'o caterpillars.  I decided to do this for a couple of reasons...ok three, if you count YOLO.  First, this time of year brings back memories of my Dad's passing (May 4), and my Mom's passing with Mother's Day also in May.  On the flip side, May 12 is the day I decided to follow Christ 43 years ago.  With loss of life comes new life.  Wanting to celebrate life, I thought what better way than to watch life in the making.  Second, I've contemplated having a dog.  I don't have the time nor am I home enough to care for a dog, but butterflies, oh yeah!  Plus, I've kept a succulent alive since the end of March, so surely I can do this.  

PhD - During the last class of my MBA, the professor of my capstone class asked me if I ever considered getting my PhD.  She commented on this due to my final capstone research paper.  The answer to that question is, "of course," but the thought of doing it makes my stomach turn.  My friend, Paige, has always told me I'd get my PhD eventually and I normally smile and change the subject.  I'd love to "retire" in to teaching, but given I haven't taught at the college level yet to determine if I'd like it, I'm hesitant to invest in something that would only benefit me in academia.  Last week, said professor contacted me that my Alma mater, Campbellsville, is being accredited for a PhD program in Management, to start in Fall 2017 or January 2018.  In my life, there are more dreams I want to chase than there is time or resources.  I told my professor I'd pray about it.  Nothing like a random offering like that to get your mind whirling.  

Summertime! - You gotta say that word with an exclamation point!  I love summertime, even though I'm working and not a student any more - or teacher -  that gets to enjoy three months of leisure time.  As part of my online book club, we get a first look at the Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Reading Guide.  Think the summer reading program at the library for kids, but someone has already read a ton of books and selected 30 for the summer.  We received it last night - the rest of the world gets it on Wednesday - and I was reminded of those days when school was out and I couldn't wait to get to the library to sign up for the summer reading program.  Ah, summer.  Sipping on a Coke Zero, or Frappucchino and reading in the summer breeze.  People, that is Heaven on earth.  

Sunday, April 30, 2017

What I'm Reading - April 2017

I've become obsessed with books and reading.  I've always enjoyed reading, but in the past few months, I've really looked to reading as my release, outlet, and vehicle to wind down.  Lately I've watched less television and aside from listening to podcasts, books fill up most of my down time.  As I said when I was a guest on What Should I Read Next, I feel like I'm dating books!

What is to follow is a recap of what I read this month and what I'm reading.  I recently joined Litsy, an app for bookish people - think Instagram for bookworms.  My username is RosieBoo65, so look me up there as I'll be charting my course of reading on that app.

What I Read

The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon 
Judge Joe Crater goes missing in August 1930, never to be heard from again.  Yes, this is a true story.  This historical fiction novel focuses on the three women who had a connection with Judge Crater - his wife, maid, and mistress.  I love historical fiction, and add the layer of female protagonists and you've got a winner for me.  I enjoyed this book, but wasn't enthralled by the story.  I felt like it was a bit slow in the beginning, and eventually picked up pace.  I don't regret reading this book as I learned a lot about a historical disappearance I'd never known about before.  I read this as part of my online book club and participated in an author chat.  Ariel was so interesting to listen to as she explained how she wrote this, her first book, over 18 months only on Saturdays.  And she got contacted by a real life relative of a character in the book!  After hearing her interview, I want to read her other works.

The Measure of Success: Uncovering the Biblical Perspective on Women, Work, and the Home by Carolyn McCulley and Nora Shank
Being a career woman, and not a wife or mother, I often question what that looks like in light of the role of women in Scripture.  This book is solid look at how God ordains work for all of us - whether working inside or outside the home - and to have a purpose in fulfilling that role.  If you are a working woman, you'll benefit from reading this book to get affirmation that being a successful businesswoman isn't of the devil.

The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Lauren Willig, and Beatriz Williams
You never know when three authors write a novel what you are going to get.  This book surpassed my expectations.  The story of three women spanning three generations and how they are connected make up the tapestry of this book.  It felt like piecing together a puzzle and I had a hard time putting this book down.  I'm assuming each author wrote each of the three main characters, but you'd think all of it was written by the same author.  These ladies write in perfect harmony.

What I'm Currently Reading

A Perilous Undertaking (Veronica Speedwell, #2) by Deanna Raybourn
A second in the series of a lepidopterist who has an amazing lineage and solves crimes.

The Patriots by Sana Krasikov
The book based in Russia in the 1930s and 2008 is segmented into different segments of "Books."  It was slow starting, but now about halfway in, I'm hooked.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
This is a small book, but with a heavy theme.  This book won many awards in 2016 and I know the epilogue was written by his wife after the author's death, so I'm moving slow as I know the outcome will be heart wrenching.