[Editor's Note: I noticed this morning that I had misspelled the title - it was supposed to be Giftsfrom the Garden, not Gists. But maybe I really meant gist, as in the main idea.]
One thing I’m most thankful for is living in my home state of Florida. After living further north for nine years, I’m happy to finally be home. I love, love, love the heat and humidity. I also love the absence of cold weather, snow and ice. I’m even fond of hurricane season - it gives us something to talk about. I’ve heard people complain that Florida never changes - it’s always green and there’re no seasons - but I don’t mind. We enjoy gorgeous flowers and green plants all year long. I can also enjoy the beach in January, devour fresh strawberries in February, and ride my motorcycle nearly every day in the bright sunshine. What’s not to love? The only thing I miss from my northern states is the thrill of yellow daffodil splendor announcing that spring is on the way and watching tulips blossom into vibrant colors. Such happy flowers! It’s just too hot for bulbs in Florida and tricking them in the refrigerator just seems mean (it doesn’t work all that well either).
In honor of winter in Florida (or lack of by most people’s standards) I want to share what I’ve learned from several flowers found in my yard this week.
The beautiful boughanvilla teaches me balance. This flowering vine has brilliant fuchsia or red flowers that bloom most of the year here. Mature vines have sharp thorns and the vines need support from a trellis, fence or wall to continue growing.
For me, balance includes allowing others to help - finding the support network I need to be and do my best. When I try to do everything myself, I get out of balance very quickly. And isn’t life much grander with friends and family there to share?
The thorns on the boughanvilla remind me that there is a time to protect - to create boundaries. Sometimes we have to say yes and sometimes we have to say no. We cannot be everything to everyone all the time. Sometimes we just need to nurture and care for ourselves. Love and care for others is only possible when our own reserves run deep. It’s not selfish. It’s necessary.
How do you find balance between taking care of yourself and everyone and everything else in your life?