My mom observed this morning that I've sounded happier the last few times we've talked on the phone, and I'd have to agree that this is true. And I think that, for the most part, my greatly improved demeanor can be largely attributed to the amount of time we've been spending outside lately. It's amazing, really, how sunshine and some old fashioned hard work have done wonders for my overall disposition! Darren and I had a good start working on our garden over the weekend, and I spent two valuable hours working in the backyard with the children yesterday. And by working, I mean that I moved load after load of rocks and gravel from beneath our bedroom bay window to Darren's cactus garden, clearing the bed for what will become a beautiful Mary garden, while the children busied themselves making mud. :)
I also took the opportunity to pot up a few lonely plants that didn't quite fit into our last arrangement. The children helped me select these vibrant, cheerful gerbera daisies last Saturday, and they've added such a welcome splash of happiness to our patio!
But, while I love the bold, beautiful colors of our planned, potted displays, I think it's still the surprising little flowers, sprouting unexpectedly in obscure places, with which I am the most taken. Like undeserved gifts, they offer pure pleasure at otherwise mundane moments, gracing us with their simple and quiet beauty. Such is one of the greatest joys of gardening, I think: those happy discoveries from one season to the next, unbidden but entirely welcome.
Darren's cactus garden is alive again with some of my favorite, delicate blooms. The stark contrast they provide to an otherwise forbidding garden will never fail to delight me...and will provide, for many years to come, an overabundance of photo opportunities. :)
Some other happy discoveries yesterday, which I eagerly shared with my children, included the fascinating remains of an empty praying mantis egg case on one of our Ocotillo branches and the first of our tiny black swallowtail caterpillars on the Fennel!
In addition to time spent outside, I've also been doing a lot of cleaning, purging, and rearranging around the house, which has helped my mood tremendously. My Lenten plans haven't stayed perfectly on track, but we're doing pretty good! I'm proud of how well my children, in particular, have been steadfast in their sacrifices. We're looking forward to taking a week off from school to observe Holy Week, and are especially excited to see my brother and sister-in-law and niece and nephew at Easter! I love my life. :)