There is a red maple tree I often see. It’s finally coming in full bloom for Spring. Finally turning around for this season. All I can say is God must be smiling. For who wouldn’t when you see such red beauty becoming it’s own again. Even birds in the skies marvel at how the tree dances to its own tune again. There is a red maple tree I often see. But truly I see God.

My son told me yesterday, he would buy me flowers forever when he gets older. I smiled. He is only five and still reminds me of God every time I look in his eyes. I forgot to pen one more moment with him as he turned 5 back in February. He reminded me of why it matters yesterday. So here he goes. I hope you keep moments with God. He will give you flowers forever.

We took the best of ourselves. The best of our minds. The best of our peace, the fullness of our hearts and gave them to you. Son, whose skin is the color of the night, with eyes as brilliant as shooting stars. See the full moon. See how it persistently tends the night skies. It knows places in the night, dark and never spoken about, like flowers blooming in the dark. Ways to love without failing too, even at the darkest hour. What I know to be pure and genuine is in the way you care for others beyond yourself. The way you love persistently. Only you are like the moon, so full, so full.

Maybe it was the cold.

I have never liked the easy wind of cold winter days.

Maybe it was the place.

I never understood the bewitching charms of Augusta.

Maybe it was the month.

I have always ignored the swiftness of February.

Or maybe it was you.

Now, I truly wonder if it was you.

Life for you is so simple, so good.

You know your name. Olisa,

God. Yes, you know, it so well,

but that’s not all. Because I know him too, God. I do.

And we both want to be his branches and he the vine.

We both want to remain in him and he in us.

Like the sun every morning,

or the wings of eagles rising higher,

or streams of water flowing in a river,

or tall trees growing in a forest.

Yes , we want the unending joy of these things and him taking us to green fields where we rest,

to streams of water where we drink,

strength for all this life brings,

but most of all like your name implies Olisadubem,

to guide our feet along the right paths.

Your name is all you need.

Your name is…

You came in the afternoon. Around four, forty-five. On two, seventeen, seventeen. Daddy was there the entire time. Just him, you and Gillian, our nurse practitioner with a smile that never fades. Only three of us. She looked at Dad and asked if he was ready. He smiled. She knew he was. He wore the scrubs. Green scrubs. Put on his gloves. Latex free gloves. She stood by his side and together they said it was time. Dad said to breathe. I did. The contractions were coming. She counted. I pushed. We did this 4 times and by the fifth, you gently came into the world. Your dad gently brought you into our lives. You were the only one that got that gift. The only one that Dad did everything, from the beginning till the end. Gillian trusted him. She knew he had done this way more than her, knew he did this first before spending time now with the brain. Knew I would also be in great hands. She gave us this special gift. She let us bring you together, to the world.

I always wondered why your ways are seamless, your strides effortless, even your smile totally divine. Honestly, everything about you is always divine. There is gentle ease about you, so peaceful like flowing rivers. Every aspect of you, son of my womb, is flawless. Even your ways are limitless. They call it grace, I hope it stays with you always. As your turn around once more, this fifth season of you, there are four things about you that are so amazing to me. No, five, that keeps me looking at you. One, your voice is so powerful. I pray it continues to thunders over our home, over our lives. Two, your smile is breathtakingly beautiful. I sincerely hope you continue to use for glory. Three, your caring for others, even you fierce protection of your brothers is supreme to me. I pray you keep it, always. Four, your likeness, I adore how it falls like rain, this radiance around you. But of all this, I stand mesmerized by your name.

We named you after the one who forms mountain. The one who creates winds. The one who turns dawn to darkness. The one whose face is light. We named you after the one who stirs up the sea. The one who makes the waves roar. The one who strikes with flashes of lightning. The one who thunders over mighty waters. We named you after the one who makes nations leap like a calf. The one who shakes the desert. The one who twists mighty oaks. The one who strips the forest bare. We named you after the one who gives hidden treasures. The one who stores riches in secret places. The one that blesses his people with peace. The one enthroned as king forever. You my child, we named you after God. May he be your guide always. Happy Birthday Olisadubem.

Some moments linger on, like a song, playing on. Like the moment he arrived. We call him Olisa, but truly he is our beloved. Our guide through life. Remember, the $10k lottery, from over 1100 entries. Olisa won that last year at his school. His ways are not ours. The words out of his mouth these days are like deep waters. Caring is sharing. Rushing like flowing stream. Be kind, keeps me smiling. He is turning into his 5th season. My child, born two, seventeen, seventeen. I can’t help but wonder all he will become. This week we celebrate him. This child, we call God.

To see him. To see him high and exalted. To marvel at the throne, the robe, the really long robe filling up the temple. To see angels with wings, six wings, two covering their faces, two covering their feet, two for flying. To hear angels calling one another, singing holy, and the whole earth full of glory. To hear the shuffle of sound, doorposts, threshold shaking at their sound and temples full of smoke. To see all of this majestic beauty would leave me speechless. I too am unworthy. What will I do if my eyes sees God? If he asked whom he should send? With arms stretched out and voice crying out. Me. Here I am. Send me.

One of my favorite bible passages was read yesterday in church. It’s from Isaiah chapter 6 and the year King Uzziah died. To see the lord, to see him high and exalted, would give me chills. To even hear him ask whom he should send would cause my feet to shake. I am always his. I too would answer the call and ask for him to send me. When God calls, when you see him too, answer. Just keeping this here as a reminder to myself that I am always ready. You can send me Lord, send me.

Exactly one year ago today, we closed on our home. The experience seems hazy now looking back as it was at the beginning of a pandemic and I was expecting a new baby. Looking back, we didn’t do all the things people do when they purchase new homes. There were no housewarming or gathering of our families together to see the home. We didn’t move into the home until six months later. Some of that was due to the renovations we made prior to the move. It was extensive, but totally worth it. We changed the walls from an off white color to blue. Lots and lots of blue. We kept things from the home as is, like the gold colored chandelier the prior owners originally had and the large vanity mirror that lined one of the rooms and a guest bathroom.

February 2020, the moment we made an offer.
December 2020, the day we moved.

The renovations were more of a facelift in most places but totally worth it. When we moved in on the 23rd day of December, about one month and a half later, a massive winter storm hit our area. We were the direct recipients of it. It busted a pipe in the middle of our brand new kitchen and to say we were overwhelmed is an understatement. But God always has the last laugh. This time we lived in our home for over 1 month and a half as we began another daunting task to renovate. We uprooted everything from the kitchen and most of the basement. By the time we were done, the home was restored to its normal conditions thanks to our contractor who worked tirelessly to ensure things were back to normal.

The initial attempts at restoration.

The past year has been full of so many ups and downs and ups with this home, one that I would not trade anything else for it. One of the things the prior owners told us when we bought the home is that it would bring all the luck we need in the same way it did for them. They called it their lucky home. I agree. This home is lucky to us in all sense of the word. It keeps giving gifts that I will forever treasure, one of which is the endless array of flowers and trees that surround the home. We are so blessed and consider this a manifestation of Jeremiah chapter 29 verse 11 in our lives. For our God alone knows the plans he has for us. Plans to bring us prosperity and not disaster. Plans to bring about the future we hope for. He did so with this home and I look forward to all the many plans he still has in store for us.

We love all our many shades of blue.

The toughest school year I have ever experienced finally came to an end on Friday. Not only did we master the art of homeschooling, we figured out how to nurture what matters as each child did their best to make the most of this school year. All the materials submitted are now home and I have begun to do the wonderful task of sifting through to figure out what to keep and what discard. Something about seeing my children’s words and art warms my soul always. Like this little poem my daughter wrote with her friends called ‘BabyBirds.’ I remember how happy she was to have written this one with her friends and to actually read it for myself makes me proud. They began by describing the day. The sun is shining they note. Another spring day. Birds in the sky are chirping, some being born today, breaking out of their eggs to meet the warmth of the day. I can’t even imagine what goes into the mind of a 3rd grader to write in this way but I’m am glad that school allowed this exploration of the mind. Like how mother bird goes out look for food to feed her babies eager to learn the ways for the world. I imagine the same must be true for my daughter and her friends. For all birds, even baby ones have to learn about the world, whether with chirping or finding food to eat. But here comes the hard part for even mother birds and it’s that’s one day, even baby birds will leave the nest. They too will one day spread their wings and fly, far faraway from home. And when they do, the hope for mother birds, as with all mothers, is that they explore the world, full of possibilities, full of a life worth living, in their own terms. That what reading this little poem did for me today. As the school year finally comes to end, may all children, my own included, continue to fly, and soar to new heights. I keep this poem her as a proud mother bird.

My daughter and her friends poem ‘BabyBirds.’

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!