No matter how many years I've been doing this and no matter how organized I am there are moments of anxiety that creep in.
What to do? What to do?
Get thee to the garden. Right in the midst of the craziness. Because stressful is NOT how I want to define my Christmas preparations. So (I think) I've finally learned. When I start to feel frenzy colliding with peace in my heart and chipping away at the real purpose of Christmas... I take some time to breathe. I do the thing that makes no sense whatsoever. I stop everything. I shift my focus even if only for a few short moments.
Sometimes it's just a matter of walking around the garden pausing to notice the little things, to deeply smell the fresh air or to feel the warm sunshine on my face.
If I want to really relax I take my camera with me. I can completely lose track of everything that is conflicting in my heart when I start taking photos.
There's so much of God's remarkable handiwork to be seen in nature. Just look at the shape of this flower. Brilliant colors of red and green that, in comparison, dim any electric Christmas lights.
We really have had a picture-perfect December in Florida. And our Christmas is predicted to a warm one.
Vibrant red Powder Puff Shrub (Calliandra haematocephala) reflects natural Christmas cheer. Butterflies and pollinators cannot resist its magical beauty.
Paperwhites planted in the ground in November have already sprouted with so much warm weather abounding this month.
Portadora alocasia continue to add drama to the berm pushing out new green leaves in their giant-sized proportions. Leave it to them to keep us feeling ever so tropical right into winter.
One thing I notice about this time of year is how the sun shines extremely clear but softer and the skies are crisp blue. In contrast to the brightness created by the streams of light through the trees, the shadiest places in the garden are more intensely dark.
Christmas cactus must have a signal built-in triggering the time to shower us with the colors of Christmas. Adorned with beauty that can't be reproduced by anything man-made.
The butterfly garden is around the corner from the circle garden seating. I can see much of the fluttering activity from my back lanai where I'm sitting right now writing this post. But I have to tell ya ... walking out there to stand in the midst of it is distinctly revitalizing.
I've seen some monarchs laying eggs recently but didn't realize we had some caterpillars. Don't worry there are plenty of milkweed leaves left even though this little fellow is sleeping on a dried up flower pod.
Bleeding heart (Clerodendrum thomsoniae) vine has a way of stealing mine before its pink buds open.
And also when they do ... revealing the bright cheery red inside.
Every thought of rushing around and feeling hurried subsides at noticing the tiny creatures laboring for their daily sustenance.
Remarkable critters with features so fine and fragile. I often ponder the delightful way their instinctive habits offer the simplest entertainment.
And now I'll just be still and share with you a few of the butterflies in my garden that gracefully move about their days.
All is calm. All is bright after my walk through the garden. The wonders of it take me to a peaceful place time and again no matter what events swirl around me.
I hope you'll take some time to pause. Breathe in your own garden or whatever nature is around you this week.
I wish you the merriest of Christmases! Comfort and Joy!
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.