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Must love the Iris

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

The Iris is an amazing flower. It is a flower that is strong and has courage. It can survive and withstand storms, long winters, and even poor and difficult soil. It does not give up. The ancient greeks used the Iris as a symbol of faith and hope. I see it as a symbol of strength and steadfastness.


As a gardner, I love the Iris. I have bulbs that originally came from gardens of my mother, and even grandmother, going back over 100 years. I have dug them up and moved them from house to house, over decades. They give me a sense of connection, history, and fond memories. Like a Ted Kooser, or Robert Frost poem, when I look upon my Iris beds, I have a sense of appreciation and remembrance of earlier times and lives that were once important.

I will be digging up my Irises again soon as we are moving to a new town. I will plant them in their new home and they will soon be at play and giving strength and beauty.

I will be leaving Spark People for a while. I am not sure how long. When I return, I hope to return like the Iris, having replanted myself, and beginning to grow again.

Best wishes and prayers for anyone who may read this.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NONIE_C 4/4/2014 12:45PM

    Thank you so much for sharing the beautiful history of your irises. I love them too.

I hope your move, and all that goes with such a transition, goes smoothly. I wish you the best in this next leg of your adventure, and I look forward to reconnecting when you return to Spark.

All the best to you. You will be missed!

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CVRONEK 4/2/2014 6:39AM

    Oh Bill,how I will miss you.

May you flourish,wherever you are planted,like your beautiful Iris.

My very best for you and as always prayers continue for your wife.

Your friend,

Chris..fellow gardener emoticon

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HAPPY-DESTINY 4/2/2014 12:09AM


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VALERIEMAHA 4/1/2014 9:09PM

    I love your reflections on the beautiful iris, Bill. Thank you.

Have safe travels and a wonderful adventure in Europe (NOT lol). I look so forward to hearing from you when the time is right!

A gift for the road:

For the Traveler

Every time you leave home,
another road takes you
into a world you were never in.

New strangers on other paths await.
new places that have never seen you
will startle a little at your entry.
Old places that you know well
will pretend nothing
changed since your last visit.

When you travel, you find yourself
alone in a different way,
more attentive now
to the self you bring along,
Your more subtle eye watching
you abroad; and how what meets you
touches that part of the heart
that lies low at home:

How you unexpectedly attune
to the timbre in some voice,
opening a conversation
you want to take in
to where your longing
has pressed hard enough
inward, on some unsaid dark,
to create a crystal of insight
you could not have known
you needed
to illuminate
your way.

When you travel,
a new silence
goes with you,
and if you listen,
you will hear
what your heart would
love to say.

A journey can become a sacred thing:
make sure, before you go,
to take the time
to bless your going forth,
to free your heart of ballast
so that the compass of your soul
might direct you toward
the territories of spirit
where you will discover
more of your hidden life,
and the urgencies
that deserve to claim you.

May you travel
in an awakened way,
gathered wisely
into your inner ground;
that you may not waste
the invitations which
wait along the way
to transform you.
May you travel safely,
arrive refreshed,
and live your time away
to its fullest;
return home more enriched,
and free to balance
the gift of days
which call you.

~ John O'Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us
And a supply for quiet evenings, to be read aloud to/by the beloved:


Comment edited on: 4/1/2014 9:12:59 PM

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FUNLOVEN 4/1/2014 10:50AM

    I sure will miss you, Bill! emoticon

I'm not so sure about the Iris though. Maybe it is a figment of my imagination, but in my experience with them I think they take a lot of work and rather fussy. I have never purchased any bulbs personally. I have just used whatever came with the properties I have lived on. Currently I have some lovely yellow Iris that I moved a couple of years ago because they were in a spot that didn't get enough sun and so they were dwindling in number. This year I have another batch that need to be dug up and replanted because they didn't bloom last year. This batch is not a particularly nice color, IMO, but I love to garden and can never bring myself to intentionally let a plant die. I also have some Siberian Iris that don't do particularly well for me either.

I think your Iris collection from your family roots is a very nice idea and with your loving hands I know they will prosper to be strong and steady just like you. emoticon

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DDOORN 4/1/2014 10:17AM

    I love the idea of gardening and hope life will slow down someday to permit me some time to "bloom" in such a way in the future!

Take care of yourself Bill, safe travels & good fortune in making your transitions!

We'll look forward to hearing from you on the other side!


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LOVELESMILLS 4/1/2014 9:21AM

  I am a gardener too and, when we leave this house of twenty five years, will leave my most treasured memories planted in the ground! Best of luck, Bill. Come back soon.

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For The Coming of Springtime, Lent, Daylight Savings Time and the Snow Melting

Friday, March 07, 2014

In my morning meditation I remembered this poem and found it on the poet's website.
I want to share it with Spark Friends.

The Opening of Eyes

That day I saw beneath dark clouds
the passing light over the water
and I heard the voice of the world speak out,
I knew then, as I had before
life is no passing memory of what has been
nor the remaining pages in a great book
waiting to be read.
It is the opening of eyes long closed.
It is the vision of far off things
seen for the silence they hold.
It is the heart after years
of secret conversing
speaking out loud in the clear air.

It is Moses in the desert
fallen to his knees before the lit bush.
It is the man throwing away his shoes
as if to enter heaven
and finding himself astonished,
opened at last,
fallen in love with solid ground.

-- David Whyte

"….the opening of eyes long closed." A Spark wish for all of us this spring.
Best wishes for the remainder of March, and for the season of lent.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 3/19/2014 9:03AM

    Viva la SPARK and cheers to Open Eyes...YES!


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VALERIEMAHA 3/7/2014 9:16PM

    Just perfect!

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NONIE_C 3/7/2014 2:04PM

    This is perfect. Thank you so much for sharing.
I am trying to be more present in my life, in my body, in my world. It feels good. I was a perpetual dreamer. My eyes were closed and I lived through the stories in my head. Now, my eyes are open and I am living my life. Living today. Living right now!

Again, emoticon

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FUNLOVEN 3/7/2014 8:57AM

    It seems the older I get the more I search for my true self with opening eyes and wonder what God has in store for me. Thanks for the poem Bill emoticon

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CVRONEK 3/7/2014 8:04AM

    Another beautiful "eye opening" poem, Bill.

As we are faced with the challenges of life, let us search for the silver lining, with open eyes, for much lies waiting.

Perfect for the lenten season and the coming of Spring.


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Goals and Grades: February Report Card

Saturday, March 01, 2014

To stop, and look at where you are in relation to where you have been brings up many mixed feelings. But I think it important. Especially, when we are trying to improve, and get some place beyond where we are now.

In that spirit I decided to grade myself now that it is the end of February, on how well I did on each of my February goals. emoticon

Goals and Grades

1). -Exercise 5 days a week (including 2 days in the gym doing resistance exercise).

Grade C+

I can honestly say that I exercised three days a week, forcing myself to the gym at least one day a week. Blame it on the cold, frigid Michigan winter we have had in February. I didn't get outside as much and I really find gyms boring. Or you can blame it on me. emoticon I just need to do better here.

2) -Meditation, spiritual reading, mindfulness daily for 10 minutes.

Grade B+ Did well most days. I am keeping books sitting around handy to pick up and read for a few minutes. That was the key. I want to keep this going, especially now that lent is upon us. I intend to pull out and re read "Purpose Driven Life" and essays by John O Donahue, which a do in lent. So this one will be kind of easy.

3)-Mindful eating……every day. Try to make this a habit. Try again.

Grade C+. it certainly makes a difference when one practices it.. I have to work on this one, and make it a goal again. it seems counter productive to mindfully eat potato chips. emoticon

4)-Gratitude every day. Relax, breathe and appreciate.

Grade A. No problem. If I ever get off track I go to my favorite website,,

5) -Give someone support, encouragement, compliment, every day.

Grade B+. I put this one foremost in my mind for February. It seemed to work well. It is fun. Will keep doing it.

6) -Water 8 glasses daily.

Grade F. Enough said. Call me a slouch on this one. Will make it a goal again.

7) -Lots of fruits and veges always and daily.

Grade A-. This one is ok. There is not even an effort required. emoticon

8) -Daily effort to make contact with friends, family. E mails, text messages will count.

Grade A-. This one turned out to be kind of fun also. Not time consuming with all the ways we can communicate these days. A quick text message, or e mail hello, even, , makes a difference with a family member or old friend.

9) -Calorie tracking daily.

Grade D-. OK Bill….. get it together on this one. I think it is important. So if I really value it I guess I should do it. . emoticon

In spite of my mixed grading results I did manage to lose a couple of pounds. But the grades will help me set goals for March. Some Feb goals came easy. Others did not. The goals I did not do well with will take front and center for the month of March and will be my primary set of goals. It is all good. We are all human and we all keep on trying.

Best wishes to you all in March emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JAWATKINS 3/3/2014 6:48AM

    emoticon emoticon
What was hard last month will be easier this month! You have a great attitude! That goes a long way!!


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FUNLOVEN 3/2/2014 9:18AM

    I would be very happy with a report card like that. As you said, a review like this gives you an idea on what to focus on for the next month. Keep up the good work!

I have the Purpose Driven Life book too. Thanks for the Lent idea, Bill.

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CVRONEK 3/1/2014 2:30PM

    Not too bad Bill! A couple pounds lost, several high marks emoticon ....the water! emoticon
I, too struggle in the cold to drink enough water.
Working on mine at the very moment.

March seems a great time to kick it into gear. More sun, longer days, warm tease days.
All good motivators.

You are well grounded and have purpose. So a slip up, here and there. You are still moving in the right direction.

Next time you write your monthly review, I am confident that you will get a gold star.

I would also like to thank you for all of your support as I go along my journey, too.
It means a great deal.

Onward, March!

Comment edited on: 3/1/2014 2:31:26 PM

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DOKEYOKEY 3/1/2014 12:12PM

    I love all your goals -- and that you have gone back to assess your progress! Bravo!

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Inspiring and upbeat little poem with a big message to share.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Love this little poem. Inspiring and motivating. Much gratitude to my Spark Friend , Maha, for introducing me to the Panhala daily poetry website.

Hope you enjoy this friends…..

Dawn Revisited

Imagine you wake up
with a second chance: The blue jay
hawks his pretty wares
and the oak still stands, spreading
glorious shade. If you don't look back,

the future never happens.
How good to rise in sunlight,
in the prodigal smell of biscuits -
eggs and sausage on the grill.
The whole sky is yours

to write on, blown open
to a blank page. Come on,
shake a leg! You'll never know
who's down there, frying those eggs,
if you don't get up and see.

~ Rita Dove ~

(On the Bus with Rosa Parks)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MTRACHEL 2/20/2014 11:00PM

    Love it! Reminded me of a sonnet I wrote one February. Now I will have to dig it out.

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FUNLOVEN 2/20/2014 9:35AM

    What a great poem; especially for those who are afraid of facing what the future may hold for them. Thanks for sharing.

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VALERIEMAHA 2/20/2014 12:19AM

With palms joined in gratitude to Joe Riley, Panhala's purveyor of fine poetry!

And in case anyone wants to know more about the luminary Rita Dove:


Comment edited on: 2/20/2014 12:21:13 AM

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HAPPY-DESTINY 2/19/2014 8:30PM

    Sweet! emoticon

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TOKIEMOON 2/19/2014 6:09PM

    Thanks for the positive share, and I'll check out the website. emoticon

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CVRONEK 2/19/2014 5:35PM

    Oh, I love this and it is perfect for the afternoon I have had.

I sat on my front steps, thinking such thoughts, remembering, living and looking forward to.


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JANUT57 2/19/2014 3:32PM

  emoticon thanks for sharing

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ONTHEPATH2 2/19/2014 3:20PM

    Love it! :-)

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EVIE4NOW 2/19/2014 3:13PM

  Thanks for sharing.

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Keeping the balance… sort of.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

This week I watched myself balance the two selves (the bad and the good). Self awareness is a beautiful thing (sometimes).

We (my wife and I ) were in a hotel room in Houston this week. She is a patient at the MD Anderson Cancer Center where she is followed for her Stage 4 Lymphoma. We flew there from Michigan (Corporate Angel Network) for her 6 month check up to see if she is still in remission (contrary to all predictions, she is.).

I explain this because the situation was a little nerve wracking while waiting for the end of the week appointment with the Oncologist. And what does Bill do when he gets nervous …… tasty snacks. More calories that I should have, to be sure.

I was fully aware of what I was doing. Little bits, here and there throughout the day and week. Nothing real significant… can of Coke (I usually rarely drink it), some potato chips (hardly ever eat them anymore)… a piece of chocolate, then a second piece, etc…… the list goes on.

Because I was (somewhat) self-aware …. I knew the ‘bad self ‘was rearing it ugly head… so I tried real hard to recognize and at least keep some semblance of self control. It seems I made a conscious choice to I just let the bad behavior be there to some degree . Not sure if that was the correct thing to do but I gave into it. I think I was hoping it would run its course. I was actually planning for it to run its course. I did , after all, recognize I had some control over this..

So the ‘good self ‘ had not left entirely either. . There was lots of down time and waiting time until the end of the week appointment. So I went walking every day. Exploring the neighborhood…. Checking out a huge lovely city park. Every day I had my 10000+ steps on my pedometer. 4 mile walks, and little short ones throughout the day. I felt I was doing at least something to not be totally self destructive for the week.

The net result…. No weight gain…. Stayed the same for the week. Not my goal for the challenge I am in…. but it seems ok. Not sure what I learned about myself… expect that maybe by accepting my own humanness we can move forward…..

I guess that is what we all are all trying to do…. Keep moving forward.

I might add… it helped to have the SP Winter Challenge looming over me throughout the week. I kept thinking about the weigh in and self-reporting I would have to do. That part was all good. And I think if kept my from going totally out of control.

In the words of the great thinker and spiritual advisor, Popeye….

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FUNLOVEN 2/17/2014 8:42AM

    First of all, I am so glad to hear that your wife got a good bill of health from the doctor!

I think you did too! To repeat what we have read a million times, it is about the journey to healthy living and as you pointed out we are only human. I think it is great that you stayed in the present and recognized what you were doing and gave yourself permission to keep it in control and still be o.k. with it at the same time. And what a great way to burn some cals. with all of that walking emoticon

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RAWCOOKIE 2/17/2014 2:13AM

    Well done for staying self-aware whilst climbing that stress-mountain! You reached the top and saw the view - excellent.

I love that you've mentioned the Winter Challenge - the checking-in and reporting etc is subtly powerful, isn't it? Knowing we have to (if we want to!) track it all, to see what it is - all this if a really potent modifying factor.

Thank you for sharing

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MTRACHEL 2/16/2014 8:10AM

    Glad you are giving yourself a break on this one. Cancer is the Olympics of stress. I believe you handled it well (if I sound like i am judging...I'm holding up a 9.0!). It is amazing what awareness will do, even for emotional eating. Hooray for remission! (Gold medal)

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TOKIEMOON 2/15/2014 10:13PM

    Your wife's remission is a huge blessing! I'm not sure how I would be handling the stress, but I think I'm safe to say I would overeat. You did very well (didn't throw the towel in) and stayed accountable. I'm at the same place with my eating. Too many night time snacks, but I am being a stickler for getting in at least 13,000 steps. My low daily threshold is 45 minutes of brisk walking. I'm not doing well with food, but my exercising is going well.

You're handling life's circumstances like a trooper!

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TOKIEMOON 2/15/2014 10:12PM

    Your wife's remission is a huge blessing! I'm not sure how I would be handling the stress, but I think I'm safe to say I would overeat. You did very well (didn't throw the towel in) and stayed accountable. I'm at the same place with my eating. Too many night time snacks, but I am being a stickler for getting in at least 13,000 steps. My low daily threshold is 45 minutes of brisk walking. I'm not doing well with food, but my exercising is going well.

You're handling life's circumstances like a trooper!

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CVRONEK 2/15/2014 12:23PM

    Wonderful news about your wife's remission!! Counting the blessings in this trip, makes the little snacking mighty small.

No one finds fault in your comfort food, frenzy. Just look at all that walking you got in and in such a beautiful place.

All the better, that you maintained!
I think you did great and I am proud of the way you handled things. emoticon

You can never go wrong with Popeye, either. emoticon

Now home and back to the task at hand.

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VALERIEMAHA 2/15/2014 11:52AM

    YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!! SUCH good news on the continuing remission. And of course the process was MAJORLY nerve-wracking! The great things is that you've got the awareness growing, the voice of reason, which will be your lifetime friend, making you ever-more successful as the awareness grows stronger and stronger, especially through adversity.


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