Sparkling colors

These gorgeous flowers were a gift from…my grocery store? Yes! May 2019

“…let’s stay in the loop and pursue the momentous flow of daily little wonders, since life kindly tenders us gorgeous bouquets of sparkling colors, telling signs and rousing episodes.” —  Erik Pevernagie

So when I was putting this post together, I kept thinking maybe I should call this blog “Defeat Despair with Flowers.” But then I thought, couldn’t it just as well be called “Defeat Despair with Books?” Or “with Tea?” Or “with Animals?” Hmm, I guess I’d better stick with Defeat Despair. There are countless ways to do that, for which I’m deeply grateful.

But back to the flowers. One of the first things I had to do when I was released from the hospital was go to the grocery store to get some suitably bland food. Bland is not typically part of my life, and certainly not what I keep in my pantry. But I wasn’t hungry anyway. I just needed to eat, to heal and re-gain my strength.

Imagine my surprise then, when I got a wonderful (though non-edible) surprise as I was checking out with a few unexciting food items. Just as I reached the head of the line, the cashier at Lidl told us, her customers, “See all those flowers? They’re free if you want to take some.”

Those of us standing around looked at each other in disbelief before the cashier emphatically repeated that they were FREE. The bouquets didn’t look old or wilted, but maybe that was the point; perhaps they would be losing their fresh look soon, and a very smart store manager realized the soon-to-be-faded flowers could buy far more than their weight in good will if they were given to delighted customers. We didn’t need to be told more than twice. Several of us gladly scooped up a bouquet to take home.

Though I didn’t feel all that great, when I got home I made time to cut the flower tips off and arrange them, setting the arrangement beside the lovely one from Amy that I pictured last week, which was still beautiful. I can vouch for the healing power of the sight of those flowers. I took their loveliness in large doses through every day of the past week. It took the edge off the nasty antibiotics that make me feel nauseated, dizzy and miserable…though I’m thankful that the pain that made them necessary is gone.

I’m also thankful for each of you who have checked in with me in various ways, letting me know that your thoughts and prayers are with me. It truly means more than I can say.

Pevernagie is right; life hands out gorgeous bouquet to go along with the challenges and difficulties. For many of us, these “daily little wonders” provide the fuel that keeps us going through the tough times. May your most difficult hours be bursting with unexpected blooms and timely blessings.

There were even a few shorter blooms for this bud vase, seen here with a joyful sign sent to me years ago by a friend I met through the blog.


  1. Sheila

    Good morning, with sunbeams, birds chirping, and salty breezes. “Defeat Despair with Friends”? I’m forever grateful for all we’ve shared, the hurts and the joys! I so hope this week finds you doing much better and regaining your strength, even day by day. Maybe you can sit on a Verandah and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine, always therapeutic! 💛🌼

    • Sheila, perfect! Defeat Despair with friends– why didn’t I think of that one? Certainly, in my experience, there is no better way to defeat despair. I have indeed been enjoying the fresh air and it’s quite therapeutic. I just need to start walking around more other than wandering among my plants and across the lawn. But it’s a start. 😀

  2. Chris

    Hi Julia,
    I’m so glad you’re feeling better! The flowers are very pretty! I’m praying for your continued rejuvenation. How’s Matt?

    • Thank you Chris, especially for the prayers. Matt is doing great and most recent cardiac download showed no arrhythmias. Hooray!

      • Chris

        Wonderful! Praises abound. Y’all have a blessed weekend! 🌻😊

        • Thanks Chris, you too!

  3. Linda Blackford

    I’m thankful that you received an unexpected blessing as you are recovering! I think we all know who the bouquet really came from! God bless you as you continue to feel better and better!

    • Linda, I agree about the bouquet. 🙂 Thanks for your presence here, and your good wishes!

  4. Paula Escobell

    I am so thankful you are feeling some better. Hope you are entirely well very soon!

    • Thank you, Paula. I’m so happy to “see” you here!

  5. MaryAnn Clontz

    WOW! What a uplifting surprise at the grocery store, that continues into this post! Thank you for showing us GRATITUDE personified in how you praise God during the pain of trials!
    Trying to remember my “Dances With Wolves” moniker you gave me, so I can sign off with it.
    Smiles with her heart? (Maybe)
    Julia, you make me smile! Love, MA

    • Yes, that’s it, Smiles with Her Heart. The wonderful thing about such a smile is that it comes through cyberspace almost as brightly as in person. Not quite, though. For that we have (rescheduled) face-to-face visits! I’m happy to be one of many reasons for you to smile!! ❤

  6. There are so many ways in which to overcome, but the one I love best is the connection with friends and family. Your blog exemplifies this thought. Thank you for building a place of community.

    • Clanmother, thank YOU– for the kind words, and for being part of this online world! You’re right, there is no better solace than connection, and I’m glad we connected here.

  7. Dorothy Walker

    Dear Julia, I do hope you feel yourself again soon. It is so miserable having side effects from antibiotics. Rest as much as you can and enjoy the flowers. Keeping you in my prayers.
    Love, Dorothy

    • Dorothy, thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers. I’m now down to only one antibiotic and I can already tell the difference in how I feel. When I finish this last remaining med in about a week, I suppose the challenge is STAYING off them. A perfect excuse to rest! I’m letting myself be lazy so I suppose there is a silver lining there. 🙂 Hope you are enjoying a lovely autumn.

  8. Alan Malizia

    Julia, I pray that you will soon return to match the vibrant vitality of those flowers pictured in this blog.

    • Thank you, Alan. I’m not there yet, but keep those prayers coming and the “colorized” version of me will eventually reappear. 🙂

  9. MaryEllen Davis

    Julia, So happy you are home from the hospital and motivated/strong enough to trim your flowers and arrange them beautifully! I’m still out here, since 2012. You’re a wonderful writer and I always love your pictures and literary quotes. You were the one who got me interested in C. S. Lewis. Now I receive and enjoy a daily quote of his writings in my email from Biblegateway.

    • MaryEllen, I am tickled pink for you to say that I got you interested in C. S. Lewis. I had a neighbor tell me something similar recently. I consider it a high compliment as there is no other writer who so consistently challenges me, touches me and despite his over-the-top intellectual gifts, still somehow feels so familiar– like an old friend– whenever I read him. WOW, can you believe we’ve been “meeting” here for nearly 7 years now? This blog and the wonderful people who meet here have been an abiding blessing that emerged directly from my worst nightmare. That in itself is a wonder, and gives me hope. Thanks for your kind words and presence here.

  10. Mike B.

    What is the Monet quote.” I can’t live without flowers.”
    Free is good. A very good price.At the Kroger next door usually the marked down flowers are pretty beat up, pathetic, wilted and done.
    Verie always says don’t get me anything for Mother’s day. “I am not your mother.” But who can resist the flowers.

    • Mike, I’m with Verie. But Jeff always used to get things for me that were “from” Matt– he played a greater or lesser role in choosing the gifts, and I could always tell which ones Jeff picked vs. the ones Matt picked. But in any case I appreciated them all. Our Kroger here used to have fabulous markdown flowers, like the ones that were given to me. But it has been years since I saw any worth buying because the price was still pretty high for a fading bouquet. I think the secret is to get there the moment they are marking them down, which is hard to predict. Come to think of it, I might ask the clerk at Kroger’s or Lidl when they typically start to mark them down or give them away. Is this the Monet quote you are thinking of? Or maybe this one? In any case, he definitely had a thing for flowers– lucky us!

  11. Mike B.

    That could be the title of your book, instead of” Eat,pray, love” – Flowers,tea, and books. I would buy it.

    • Mike, I love that! I’ll keep it in mind. Or maybe I should use verbs like Gilbert did…”Sniff, sip, skim.” (I confess to skimming through about 10 or 20 books, on library shelves or in bookstores or even in my own home– for every one that I actually read cover to cover 🙂 .)

  12. Harry Sims

    Bon matin mon Ami.

    • Merci, Harry.

  13. Connie Reed

    So very sorry to hear you have been ill. I only wish I was close by so I could bring you a “bland” meal! Praying that you recover quickly and that you are back to you self in no time. Take care !
    Much Love,

    • Connie, if your cooking is even half as good as your Mama’s was, your bland would be DELICIOUS! Thanks for your prayers– they are bearing fruit– and thanks for being here with us! ❤

  14. raynard

    Good Morning Julia. I did reach out to you about a week ago via some” techy way. About those flowers. I “(encourage) young people at work when their relationships are going thru” the shaky like a rookie nurse drawing blood for the first time, grab some flowers as you” visit the deli section in the supermarket ” while you’re there”.. I digress. Are you ” glad I didn’t suggest” you take a Uber to the Dr’s, then go home and use” Grub Hub and ” Dash’ ( order food online and they bring it to your house(restaurants have it too) It’s only the first cup of coffee and” I sound like ” Gabby Johnson from the movie Blazing Saddles talking” Gibberish. lol. We are planning a trip to the D.C Zoo soon and you are welcome to come along ” if you promise not to say” Lions and Tigers and Bears” Oh My lol. Get well soon, you are always in our prayers and” Happy Every Day is Mother’s Day ( Thank you very much Hallmark I digress

    • Raynard, I need to send you my new numbers. You probably are using some old ones that have already been re-assigned to someone else. If you still have the same email I can send you the updated ones. Flowers are a great suggestion for almost any occasion– and as you say, there are some beautiful ones in almost every supermarket nowadays, something I never ever saw during childhood when you had to go to the florist’s for a bouquet. In all seriousness, I considered taking an Uber to the hospital but finally opted not to try that. I have considered using Grub Hub at times, though. Hey, be sure to let me know when you are coming to the DC zoo. I want to be sure to be in town then. Will this be another Cannonball Run or could you stay all night? I have lots of room and the price is right 😀 ) Thanks so much for your prayers. I feel a bit better each day and I bet once I’m off these antibiotics I might be back to normal soon.

  15. Ann

    So glad you are doing better, out of the hospital and enjoying flowers! Happy Mother’s Day tomorrow !

    • Thank you Ann! Matt and I are enjoying a lovely Mother’s Day and hope you are too.

  16. Mike B.

    I read in “Southern Living”: about the annual Daffodil competition and judging in Decatur. Over 22,000 varieties now and the competition is intense. I have been doing some sketching of some, via the girls who have rekindled some crafting genes in me. All children get craft time daily -why don’t adults??
    We plan to go with Mike and Jen To St.Augustine next month for a short stay? Have you been there?

    • Mike, I never heard about that daffodil competition, even though Drew lived in Decatur for about 8 or 9 years,and at one time we visited him there fairly frequently. I think it’s great that the kids have you getting back in touch with your inner artist! As for Saint Augustine, it has a special place in my heart as being the first vacation I can remember very well, because the historic aspects of it so totally captured my imagination. I remember thinking that the water from Ponce de Leon’s supposed “Fountain of Youth” tasted AWFUL to me, but I loved touring the fort. I wrote about that trip in this post. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, though it might be more enchanting to an overly-imaginative child than it would be to an adult.

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