Scatter the smiles and sunshine all along your way

Dahlia petals

When strolling through Golden Gate Park with Hubby, we came upon a seasonal planting area that is tended by volunteers from the community. It was in full bloom with dahlias. With camera in hand, I leaned over the iron fence protecting the gardens and drooled over the amazingly gorgeous dark-brown (and weedless) soil. I almost wanted the soil more than the flowers! I guess that's a sign of a gardener.


As I slowly walked the perimeter looking at the array of dahlias (and the soil at their feet), I came upon this bunch of dahlia petals that had fallen from an overly-heavy mop-head of a blossom. The petals were still so fresh and vibrant, as if they had just fallen minutes before when a volunteer brushed by to tend a neighboring plant.

I only took one photo.

I've looked at this photo several times since taking it.

When I look at the image, the words of a hymn come into my mind...
In a world where sorrow ever will be known,
Where are found the needy and the sad and lone,
How much joy and comfort you can all bestow,
If you scatter sunshine everywhere you go.

Chorus (for the altos):
Scatter the smiles and sunshine all along over your way.
Cheer and bless and brighten every passing... passing day
Scatter the smiles and sunshine all along over your way.
Cheer and bless and brighten every passing day
I've always thought it was interesting that the cheerful chorus is repeated twice after every verse. It makes me think that's probably the part that deserves most of my attention.

One dahlia blossom is so small in comparison to the rest of the world. So am I. Yet this dahlia scattered its petals on the ground which caught my eye (and my camera lens) and then made me think of something so sweet as this hymn... makes me wonder what I can learn from that dahlia.

"Scatter Sunshine" (click here to listen)
Text: Lanta Wilson Smith
Music: Edwin O. Excell, 1851-1921
Scripture references: Psalm 100:2 and James 1:27
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Broken path

When we visited the Japanese tea gardens last month, I was intrigued by a couple of the paths that led over bodies of water. From a distance, the paths seemed like any other stone path, but when I got closer and began to traverse the path to get across the water I realized how treacherous the cracks between the stones were. I realized one false move could easily result in my foot going in between the stones and a nasty fall would follow. I had to carefully navigate from one stone to another to get to my destination. If I wanted to take a look around me to enjoy the beauty while I was on the path (like the purple Japanese water iris growing out in the water), I had to stop in order to take my eyes off the stones. It was only when I could give my undivided attention to the path again that I continued moving forward.

This path is a perfect metaphor for so many things in my life--actually a perfect metaphor for my life's journey in general.

Increasingly since this last spring, I've faced some health challenges that I haven't wanted to admit I was facing. Right now, I feel like I'm in the middle of a giant broken stone path that crosses water I don't want to fall into. Every step has to be made carefully and thoughtfully. One of my ways to deal with it is to write about it. But since I didn't want to fill my creative blog with the sarcastic humor that I tend to rely on to keep from whining, I decided to resurrect my health blog, rename it, and use it as an outlet.

So for those of you that want to follow my creative pursuits unencumbered with detours, just continue to read my posts here.

Anyone else interested in the "saga" of my health issues can go over to the newly dubbed "Could be worse... could be raining" blog I've dedicated to documenting my attempts at finding wellness and humor while living with the disease endometriosis [reading the health blog's revamped right sidebar and then clicking on the button that says "The Halloween that changed my life" is the best way to get up to speed].
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My new book "What Kind of Pumpkin Are You?"

What Kind of Pumpkin Are You?

I'm a bit shy about sharing this (don't ask me why), but I will anyway... I've self-published my first book--What Kind of Pumpkin Are You?

What Kind of Pumpkin Are You? is an inspirational and humorous book intended to bring a smile to your face and hope to your soul. I envisioned it being read on days you don't want to get out of your jammies and would just rather go back to bed and sleep the day away--yeah, those kinds of days.

Anyone who knows me well knows I enjoy finding meaning and analogies in the world around me. One day a few years ago I was visiting our local “pumpkin patch” (it becomes the Christmas tree lot by December and is a vacant lot the rest of the year). I took photographs of the groupings of pumpkins as I found them. I thought it was interesting how someone had had some fun with stacking the pumpkins various ways. Once I got home and began reviewing the photos in post-processing, I was surprised to find themes of hope, acceptance, and love in the unstaged shots. I ended up compiling them into a Halloween blog post that I re-posted as an annual post each year since.

Well, that blog post has now been expanded into this book, What Kind of Pumpkin Are You? The book is available in a selection of soft and hard cover bindings that fit various budgets (my personal preferences are the "Imagewrap Hardcover on Express Photo Silk Paper" and the "Perfect Bound Softcover on Express Satin Paper").

What Kind of Pumpkin Are You?
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