Fresh starts and flower fields

Fresh starts and flower fields

I woke up this morning with a heavy heart thinking of all of the devastation in our world today. We have been praying all weekend for friends in Florida who had to evacuate their homes, not knowing what they might return to after Hurricane Irma swept through this weekend. And Sept. 11 brings with it so much grief as I think back on what was the most devastating day in the United States in my lifetime.

I felt a strange sense of guilt this morning as I headed out to walk our second grader to school, enjoying a gorgeous blue sky, radiant sunshine and a crisp cool morning. It’s always strange on days like this to continue doing what you normally do when you feel like you should be able to just make time stop as a way to commemorate the pain people are enduring.

So, I hope I don’t seem callous or uncaring, but this morning I’m also thinking about fresh starts. In the wake of all that’s happening around us, I guess I should be happy that one of the most exciting things going on in my little world lately has to do with mowing.


One of the things that brings me a ton of joy every morning is that I get to step outside on my back deck and look out at a huge expanse of prairie grass. Our subdivision is built around a 64-acre prairie, and our house backs up to a nature trail that circles the tall grass.

For the past week, the park district, which maintains the area, has been sending out a mowing crew to cut down the grass. This is our fourth fall living here, and this is the first time we’ve seen them attempt to actually mow the entire prairie, which is about 10-feet tall in some areas.

To call it “mowing” really seems like an understatement. These guys have been driving around on vehicles that look more like farm equipment to cut down and then chop up the tall grass.

I absolutely love stuff like this. I’m not very good at keeping up with house work or maintaining day-to-day chores. But I love a big project. Give me a super dirty garage floor or a deck to stain, and I’m all in!

I’ve been amazed to watch them out there, day after day, whacking away at all of those acres of grass.

We’ve never been able to see across the prairie before, so we have taken great joy in walking right across the middle where it used to be completely covered in grass that was so tall and dense you couldn’t possibly create a path. I’ve also been amazed to see what has been growing all of this time right in the middle of the prairie.

Thankfully, the mowers have spared the big sections of wildflowers that were hidden in patches behind all of that tall grass. For the first time, we can walk out to the middle and look over large sections of yellow wildflowers.

Of COURSE, I have been day dreaming about what a nice family photo we could take standing in the middle of all of those yellow flowers. I convinced my family to walk out there with me last night to snap a few quick photos with the tripod and self timer.

I love watching them clear out all of that grass that is dying and turning brown. Most of the time in fall and winter, we stare out at that field of dried up brown grass, feeling like we need to go out there ourselves and chop it down, but knowing we couldn’t even make a dent in such a large project.

I’m happy that the prairie gets a chance to start fresh. The new grass won’t have to fight its way through all of that brown, dead growth. It looks so thick and heavy, it seems like it would suffocate the plants.

It also reminds me of my own life. I always love fall because it feels like a chance to start fresh again. Once we get back into our fall routines, it feels like permission to try something new. To do things differently. I love that no matter how things went during the previous season of life, we always have the hope of new beginnings. We don’t have to always do things the way we’ve always done them. We can start over. Or try something for the first time.

Looking out at the prairie, I’m also reminded that I need to let go of some of the things that are weighing me down. I have dead prairie grass in my life that needs to be mowed and chopped up to give me room to breath and grow.

I’ve been thinking about what’s dead and dried up that I can clear out of my life. Because, who knows? I might just uncover a field of wild flowers.


What about you? Is there anything you can clear out of your life to give you a fresh start?

Pin It


We have lived in our new home for about 10 months now, and we still laugh about the first night we spent here. It was the middle of June and the evenings were still crisp and cool. We couldn’t wait to sleep with our windows open so we could breathe in the fresh air and enjoy this strange new feeling of not having another house directly behind us.

That next morning, I felt like I had hardly slept. I was expecting peace and quiet from the prairie. But instead it was so LOUD! All night long, the frogs were croaking. The crickets were chirping. Around 3 a.m., it seemed, the birds started singing.


Despite our sleeplessness, we loved all of the nature sounds so we weren’t deterred from keeping the windows open every night that we could. Toward the middle of summer, it was too hot, and we had to give in to the air conditioner. But by then, I had gotten used to all of the sounds from the prairie. I was having a hard time falling asleep without my crickets and frogs.

Toward the end of fall, we sadly closed our windows for the long winter ahead. It didn’t really matter at that point because the prairie had gone to sleep. No more chirping or croaking or singing.


When it started warming up this spring, we couldn’t wait to not only see — but HEAR — the prairie come back to life. A few weeks ago, we started hearing the frogs croaking again, and their low songs gave us hope. It seemed like warm weather was never going to come back for good, but maybe the frogs knew better.

I’m not talking about just a few frogs. This place is like Egypt after the plague in summertime with the frogs. Watch out if you go for a walk in the early morning before the sun comes up. You could step on one!

The past few days, we’ve been able to sleep with our windows open again. Not only are the frogs singing their night songs, but there’s a pheasant that cries out all night long. Sometimes we get lucky and hear two owls calling back and forth to each other from the trees. After such a long winter, it’s almost a relief to hear all of these creatures made it! They are still alive, and they are singing their hearts out that it’s spring!


We are back to sleeping with our windows open, and the effect is amazing. Something about all of that croaking and chirping puts us into the deepest sleep.


I can’t say that I’ve become a true frog lover yet. They are SO UGLY with their slimy green skin and beady eyes. But their sounds lull me into such a peaceful state. I’ve been rejoicing with them that spring is really here! CROAK!

Pin It


As much as I dislike winter, I am really looking forward to some snow. I love taking my camera with me when I go for walks, but today I was starting to get frustrated with all of the BROWN surrounding me in every direction. I’m actually craving a little WHITE just to give a fresh appearance to the landscape.

I definitely can’t complain about going for a walk on a 32 degree day on Jan. 2. Instead of being annoyed by the BROWN, I decided to look for what beauty I could find in the colorless landscape. Look at all of those brown birds hiding in those brown branches!


I didn’t even notice when I took this photo that one of the birds was RED! I was searching for that Cardinal and didn’t even realize I had taken his photo.


So. Much. Brown.





It’s quite a change from how our world looked last year!


Today, I seemed to be the only thing around with just a little bit of color!

After I got home from my walk, I did a little research on how to attract that Cardinal to my yard. I’m going to need something that’s a little more colorful to keep my camera occupied all winter! 🙂 I hope your day is full of color. But if not, go look for some beauty in the BROWN!



Pin It