Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tender Mercies

"Happiness isn't complicated.  
It is a humble state of gratitude for simple pleasures, tender mercies, recognized blessings, and inherent beauty." 
-- Richelle E. Goodrich

Today was a happy day.  
It included nothing expensive...in fact, it was free.  It was filled with inherent beauty that's for sure.  
Simple pleasures were abundant.
I counted more than several blessings and one tender mercy..but that's a story for later.

In my local paper I had read about a man who grows two acres of zinnias and offers them free to anyone who can pick them.  His one caveat: for every bouquet you pick for yourself, you must pick another one and leave it at the zinnia patch.  The bouquet left behind is for someone who cannot pick it for themselves -- maybe they are in the hospital or a nursing home.  The farmer has the pick up and drop off all lined up.  All you have to do is fill the empty vase...with his freshly picked flowers.

Like some sort of Bobby Flay "Throw Down", a proposal like that is irresistible.
We set off for the zinnia patch.

Anyone know California's state motto?  Eureka!
(aka: We found it!)

We picked.  We wandered.  We stared at the wildlife that hangs out in a flower patch: hummingbirds, spiders, lizards, butterflies, dragonflies...the list goes on and on.
We gathered zinnias and then gathered some more.
We marveled at the varieties.

We were all alone in a patch of flowers...thanks to one man's joy in simple pleasures.
And who exactly is that simple pleasure for?
Me? A mother looking for something fun to do during the summer?
My kids? Who need waaaaaaaay more time spent wandering flower patches, exploring nature and being in the quiet outdoors.
My sister? Who was looking for a place to hang out with her kids.
Her kids? Who love to explore.
Maybe it's the people who are going to get our extra bouquet...stuck in a hospital room or nursing home with a burst of the beautiful outdoors gracing their room.
Maybe it's for all of us...just sprinkling a little more beauty in our needy world.

That's the power of an act of kindness.  It just doesn't stop.
My bouquet gracing my kitchen table just puts my whole family into a zinnia kind of mood: vibrant, joyful, sparkly, unstoppable.  We can't help but smile...and stop and admire their beauty.
How about this beauty?
Just waiting to be picked...just beggin for a home.

I have to admire someone so willing to decorate our world...one zinnia at a time.  It challenges me to think of ways to do the same.  It reminds me of simple joys and the grace that surrounds us every single day.
Today's clouds...trying to decide which kind they were...fluffy, feathery or maybe stormy all in the same sky.

So...we got home, played florist and placed each flower in a hypnotic way into our vase and away we went.  I picked up Patrick from his play practice.  I filled my tank up with gas.  I noticed my tire was low.  So, I attempted to put air in it and I failed.  Thinking it was the air machine (it couldn't be me, could it??) I went to another gas station and tried again.  This time the tire pressure gauge was not kidding, my tire was low, really low.  I attempted to put air in again and wound up somehow letting more air out.  Can you say...really sad.

I looked up and there walking right by me was a young guy.  He was clearly on his way somewhere and moving fast.  I reached out and asked him if he knew how to put air in a tire.
Kindly, he stopped.  He didn't just do it for me, he took the time to teach me, sharing his technique of pulling the hose way out and tucking it under his foot to keep it steady. He filled my tire...checked in with me...warned me about over-filling my tires and then was on his way.
A tender mercy.
A stranger...crossing paths for only moment...but making a difference with his kindness and care.

So today was a boring old summer day.
Filled with zinnia pizzaz, kind guys willing to fill up low tires, sunshine and the freedom of summer.
Who loves summer? Yep, me...big time.
What have been your spots of sunshine this summer?

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