Bulbs Bulbs Bulbs

daff bulbsOne thing I learned after making it through the long Northern Michigan winter of 2012-2013 was how much I crave color come spring. “Spring” is a loose term here. We experienced snow on the ground from November until May, and my craving for color showed up sometime in early April. Perhaps it was all of the Facebook photos of blossoms and green grass from my friends in the lush Oregon valley. Or perhaps it was because white was the only “color” I had seen outside in more than five months (not even gray pavement).

When “spring” arrived in early May the snow was melting and my tulip bulbs were peeking through the snow-covered flower beds. I have about fifteen tulip bulbs that come through and ten that bloom. These tulips are here from the previous occupant of our home. I had intended to fill up the flower bed last fall but never really got around to it. In this part of the country, if you don’t get the bulbs planted by early October then it probably isn’t going to happen. That was the case for me last year, but not this year!

sm bulbI enjoyed a beautiful Sunday afternoon of bulb planting in early September. As I held the bulbs, dug the holes, and breathed in the wonderful scents of the outdoors, I thought about and envisioned what “fruit” all my labor would produce. I was dreamed about spring (while taking in as many warm days of fall as I could).

The seeds and bulbs don’t look like much – they are not beautiful – and they aren’t even colorful. The work was tedious and a little tiresome (I planted 44 bulbs!) I don’t even have anything to show for my labor except some fluffed up dirt in the flower bed. In fact, come December, February, and even April I will likely have no signs of color. I don’t even have a guarantee that they are going to emerge from the dirt or bloom into color.

BUT I have hope. I did the work. I made the investment. And, with hope, I trust that the results with come.

bulbs in handSo often (almost everyday) I want to see the results of my efforts now. Instant gratification does not usually bring about the real and lasting results I really desire. Because the results I desire don’t come fast enough, sometimes I slack on the effort and investment I make today. It doesn’t seem like it will make that big of difference, but six months from now when there are no flowers in the flowerbed, vacations taken, work promotions, or meaningful relationships, I will know why.

What about you? Is there an area of your life where some bulbs need to be planted so that in the season(s) to come you will have fruit? Please share your thoughts in the the comment box; let’s see if we can encourage each other to make the investments and plant the bulbs now that will lead to an extraordinary life. I will go first.

Be Extraordinary!

Hope Springs Anew

bootsCan you think of a season of life or even a moment when you experienced hope? On Sunday, as I was pulling out of church, I noticed the golf course across the street. I haven’t noticed the golf course in about five months due to the feet and feet of snow covering the greens. Now, all around town, much of the snow has melted and we even have glimmers of brown grass, but on this particular Sunday I saw something different.

It was not just the fact that I saw grass on the golf course, but that grass was green! Green grass coupled with the warm sunshine pouring through my window gave me an instant surge of hope. Hope of spring. Hope of summer. Hope of warm days, outdoor runs, trips to the lake, reading a book on my deck, BBQ’s, bike riding, and so much more. All of this “hope” burst forth inside me when I saw that beautiful green.

Hope amazes me!

That internal excitement and anticipation did not remain inside. It overflowed into my conversation with the kids in the car. It came out in the smiles I shared as we went to the library and then on to the grocery store. My energy was increased. I didn’t take the usual Sunday afternoon nap. I wrote a blog, helped with homework, did some cooking, and took a late afternoon walk. My day was different.

Hope is beautiful, energizing, and contagious. And I wonder, how can I infuse the energy of hope into each day? How can I, in one moment, shift my mental and emotional state when the golf green is not on my horizon?

What is your “golf green?” What infuses hope into your day and into your life? Please share so that we may learn from each other and impact our world with a fresh dose of hope.

Be Extraordinary!