My home is surrounded by peonies in full bloom. They were planted by the prior owners. A gift to us that I will forever treasure. It’s fragrant too. The fabulous pink and white flowers are ethereal and with a fragrant undertone that is a special treat to our home. Ants like bees also surround the peonies. They are everywhere. They visit to collect the nectars extruded on the outside of the peony bud. The nectars are a source of carbohydrates for the ants. And in-spite of these ants, peonies continue to bloom in ways so extravagant but unforgettable, so carefree, but elegant. And my home is surrounded by them.

When our peonies started to bloom!
In full bloom!
My baby next to them.

Prior to the pandemic, one of the things I gifted myself on a weekly basis were flowers. Nothing special, just a thank you to myself for being me. It was a daily ritual for self-care. One that I neglected once the pandemic began. We were all striving to be Covid-free so the last thing on my mind were flowers. Enter this spring. Something about my home being surrounded by flowers keeps me on my knees in thanksgiving to my God. And his gift, the flowers I will forever now treasure as his gift to our home, to my eyes, peonies in full bloom. For the past 3 weeks, all sorts of colorful peonies have been blooming around my home. From deep purple to luscious pink and sterling white, every specie is truly a rare fusion of fluff and majesty. And to think that this stately and dignified flower belongs to me, my family keeps me on my knees in humble adoration to my maker.

Deep pink peonies.
Luscious pink peonies.

I am living out his testimony of trust. Even the young grow weak and tired, he says. But those who trust in the lord, shall truly live out his blessings on earth. Peonies are the sublime manifestation of God’s blessings to me. It never also occurred to me that I could harvest them. For the past 3 weeks I have been watching them that it never occurred to me that I could go a bit further and bring them home, into the house, like the other flowers I buy until this week. This week, my God reminded me that he is God. You say you want blessings, look outside, he said. You are blessed. You can also bring it inside.

This week, for the first time since all my flowers started to bloom, I brought my first flowers inside. Peonies are the first flowers from my garden in my home and they take my breathe away. Another thing, peonies are characterized by their morphology. Some are single with five or more petals with a center called staminodes for stamens that are usually not pollen bearing. Others are semi-double peonies have five or more outer petals and a center with stamens that are pollen-bearing. My garden is full of double peonies. My God is having the last laugh with me. These double peonies with their five or more petals and even central stamen are transformed into petals such that all you see are rows upon rows of petals. A full flower in all sense of the word, whose beauty takes my breathe away. Peonies are as fascinating as they are brilliant to the eyes. Keep them for the blessings they are.

Harvesting my peonies for the first time!

Yesterday, the front of our house, was full of birds. Robins are found almost year round in Missouri. At the back, there were deers. Mule deers with their antlers still on their head. To be surrounded by abundance, in my front and my back, by nature’s finest creatures is a thing of joy. Brilliant and soulful joy. A sublime mood. We were also snowed in and everywhere was literally covered in snow. Our grass, our trees, all the pathways leading to our home, were covered with the snow. Yet, the return of Robins to woodland areas signals the arrival of Spring after a dreary winter. And this winter has and continues to be dreary. Still in the midst of the day being dedicated to love, I paused to reflect on being blessed. That we live in a home that allows me and my family to bask in nature is no small feat and we do not take any of this for granted. We rise and continue to rise on our wings, even when weary with a lot of hard work and sweat. All this mixed with the glory of God, who continues to guide our path.

All the Robins my eyes could see.

Last night, my husband and I recalled our first Valentine’s Day together, 10 years ago. We had nothing. Just the two of us, with me even leaving the country for my first job in Europe. We met when all the odds were literally against us. When long-distance for a relationship was inevitable and the future was all we hoped for. That the future is full of abundance, full of blessings, full of thanksgiving is sterling to me. We never in our wildest dreams imagined this future. But we trusted in the power of the word, the knowledge that God and only him, knows and continues to know the plans he has for those whom he loves. We still rest on this word. That and knowing that with him on our side, anything, even abundance, blessings is possible. Keep your blessings in mind. Even the small ones matter, whether today or 10 years later.