The Life Cycle Of A Flower- Part 1

Flowers have always been a part of my life. It is not that I am a gardener or anything. In fact, I do Mother Nature a favor by not gardening. Still, many of the milestones and memories in my life have a floral undertone.

The first time I remember flowers was when I was four or five years old. I was taking dance lessons. I do not remember anything about those dance lessons except that I wore a leotard and had two distinct kinds of shoes. We played Farmer in the Dell and Hokey Pokey. Why I needed two distinct kinds of shoes for these activities, I don’t know. We had a recital. I am not sure how playing Farmer in the Dell or Hokey Pokey prepared us in any way to perform at a recital, nor can I remember specifically what we did at the recital. The point is that there was a recital. At the conclusion of the performance, little Kathleen Murray, who lived across the street from us, got flowers from her parents. I remember the little bouquet tied up with ribbons and lace. My parents missed the memo about the flowers. I had no flowers. And I was crushed. I am sure I was overtired and overstimulated. I started to howl, which was extremely uncharacteristic of me. I was always an easygoing, amenable child. I rarely asked for anything. I certainly never threw a tantrum. I do not know if I was exactly throwing a flowerless tantrum exactly. I was just very, very devastated and sad that I did not have flowers. I was inconsolable. No one could make me see reason until my Grandpa Goodness (yes, that was his name) said I could come over to his house the next day and pick all the flowers I wanted for a bouquet from his beautiful, lush garden. I initially objected because my bouquet would not have ribbons like Kathleen Murray’s. Grandpa said he would find me some ribbon and I finally calmed down.

The next day, I went to visit Grandpa and he took me around the garden, patiently clipping anything I wanted. We ended up with not one but two bouquets. He wrapped the stems together with aluminum foil. He found some black grosgrain ribbon and tied it around the bouquets. It was not white lace and satin ribbons, but I was fine with what we created. I spent time with Grandpa and had lots of colorful, aromatic blooms. Besides, a full night of sleep undoubtedly improved my mood and temperament. I was much easier to appease after a night’s rest. My grandparents had six grown children, all but one of whom lived in the same general area. When I was born, I came somewhere in the middle of my grandparents’ twenty-two grandchildren. I think the novelty had pretty much worn off by the time I was born. I think grandchildren were a bit of a fungible commodity to my grandparents. For me to get Grandpa to myself for a whole morning was a wonderful treat that I remember nearly 60 years later.

I always felt bad about my behavior over the recital flower fiasco. Yes, I know I was just a small, overtired child and small, overtired children sometimes act out. Still, I was always a sensitive kid. I knew that my reaction was out of control and probably hurtful to my parents. Years and years later, I brought the incident up to my mother to apologize. She blurted out that she had always continued to feel bad about the incident as well. She thought she had scarred me for life by not getting me flowers at my first recital. What actually scarred me for life was my throwing a fit about it. I think the incident scarred my mother for life, too. This was not only my first dance recital; it was my last. Even though I asked if I could go back to dance lessons when we moved to California, my mother refused on the grounds that she thought I was just asking because a friend of mine was taking the lessons. I think she refused because she could not bear the idea of a repeat of the dance recital flower fiasco.

It was not that my parents had anything against flowers. When I turned nine, they gave me a corsage to wear to school on my birthday. They even matched it to the outfit I wore. I loved it that first year. The next year, I went to school with my yellow carnation corsage pinned to my green and yellow jumper. I was beaming. It was my birthday. I had flowers. My family would give me presents and celebrate that evening. Unfortunately, soon after I got to school, the children started to tease me. I do not know how many kids got involved, but it seemed like hundreds were pushing into my personal space chiding me and giving me “birthday” spankings. This crowd did not feel like a bunch of ten-year-olds in a space together. It felt like a monolithic evil force that was capable of much more damage than the sum of its parts. I felt overwhelmed and trapped. I swear that the crush of kids around me actually lifted me off the ground. Between the words and the blows, I panicked and began to sob. My teacher, who was known as a bit of a holy terror, rescued me. She channeled the “holy” part and rushed in like an avenging angel. Scattering hordes of children in her wake, she pulled me into her substantial, cozy bosom. She hugged me and dried my tears.

At recess, I went into the girls’ bathroom. From inside the stall, I heard other girls discussing the birthday spanking incident. They were angry at the teacher for interrupting the fun. One of the girls commented that I should have known what was coming because I thought I was so great wearing flowers to school. I listened to them talk unkindly about me for a few minutes before they left the bathroom. I cried again, then composed myself and went back to class.

That night I told my mother I did not want her to get me flowers anymore. I did not tell her why. I think her feelings were hurt. Mine were, too.

Stay tuned next week for more flower petals from the garden of my life! As I thought about the role flowers have played in my life, I was amazed at how many incidents I recalled. There were too many for one blog post, so I decided to create a part 2!

Have a blooming day!

Terri/Dorry 🙂

Taking A Break Or Broken?

Those of you who read my post last week know I have been struggling lately with time and energy management. In exploring new opportunities, I find myself unable to juggle all the activities and routines I would like to embrace. I know the idea is that, as I find healthy habits and mechanisms, I should be letting go of less healthy choices. I get that and I have been trying to do a better job of making the healthier choices. The problem comes about when I am trying to choose between two healthy activities.

I had been doing very well throughout the holiday season. I felt happy and I was being gentle with myself. I had momentum and vitality. I delighted in the new experiences I tried. I kept up with the healthy activities that I have built into my life since retirement. I was writing blog pieces regularly and smoothly. I was walking my six to seven miles a day. I was keeping up with my Bible reading, prayer, and devotional activities. I spent my evenings bonding with Max over conversation and old videos. I maintained or improved my relationships. In addition, I took advantage of opportunities to engage with a wider range of people. I made a more energetic start on writing my next book. I was keeping a regular meditation schedule. I added another Scripture study. I was keeping all the balls in the air and enjoying the swishing noise they made as they circled above my head.

Then, something happened right around New Year’s Eve. I do not know if it was the post-holiday letdown or if it was something more significant. I had some sad news about someone important to me at that time. In fact, that person is someone who has particularly encouraged my new outlook. Maybe I am just spoiled and whiny. I do not know. Whatever the reason, I crashed over the New Year’s weekend. I have tried pretending I did not. I have tried talking myself back onto the happy wagon. I have tried spinning the wheels and trying to jump back on the bike. Nothing has worked.

Those balls that had been pleasantly whooshing above my head came hurling down onto my cranium, creating a kind of emotional concussion. I am confused. The rhythm of my new life broke down and all my momentum was gone. I was getting behind on my Scripture study. I was walking around my bedroom in the middle of the night, trying to get my six miles done. I was taking shortcuts in communication. I was getting annoyed with Max for trying to convince me to learn enough deep information about Christian apologetics to advance arguments in Sunday School. I felt like I was getting nothing accomplished.

It is bad enough that I felt scattered and like I was not accomplishing anything. What came next was worse. It was a feeling that my brain, energy, and motivation were drying up. Ideas and thoughts that had been so free flowing only a few days before seem to squeeze out of my mind with all the fluidity of the last bit of toothpaste in the tube. I had several of my “not fit for human consumption” days. I tried to ignore the feeling and continue with planned activity, hoping it would help. Unfortunately, it did not help, and I just feel empty. If I feel anything, I just feel guilty for not being better able to engage.

I am going to try to cut myself some slack here. It certainly has not helped to beat myself up. Maybe a gentler approach will help. I am going to take a few deep breaths. Hopefully, I am not broken; I just need a break.

What do you do when you hit the doldrums? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at

Have an unbroken day!

Terri/Dorry 🙂

The Sky Is Falling

Well, it finally happened. After almost six years of writing the blog, I woke up one Wednesday with nothing ready to post. Oh, I have had Wednesdays before when I did not post. The difference was that I planned to not post on those prior blogless Wednesdays. I had deliberately decided to take a break here or there. I COULD have posted on those other Wednesdays, but I intentionally chose not to do so. This past Wednesday, I intended to post new content, but did not have anything written. I had a few bits and pieces of posts that I thought I would have perfected by Terri Time, but I failed.

Upon waking last Wednesday, I immediately checked my pulse and I still had one. Outside my door, there was every indication that the earth was still turning on its axis and revolving around the sun. No one contacted me to let me know they were missing any body parts or vital portions of their psyches because there was no Terri LaBonte post. There was absolutely no blood on the floor. In other words, nothing happened because I failed to complete a new blog post.

At first, I felt anxious about not having a new post. It was the problem that I had been trying to avoid for the last six years. It was the reason I did not even launch the blog until I had twenty posts already written in reserve. Last year at this time, I even broached the subject that I might not post every week to give myself time to work on my next book, ­Puppies, Guppies, and Letting Go. Even though you all supported my decision, I have still been faithful with new content. I published forty-eight new posts in 2021. I never went more than a week in a row without posting. I did not really cut myself much slack. Last Wednesday, though, I felt very unsettled and ungrounded because not only DIDN’T I post new content, I had no new content to post. I have a renewal date coming up in a couple of weeks, so I began to question if I should continue to pay the fees to maintain the blog. After all, if I am out of ideas and am stunted of new content, would it not make sense to just stop? On the other hand, if I am just a bit scattered just now, do I genuinely want to give up the blog, which I love?

This musing led to me to ask myself why I did not have anything new written for the blog last week.

I discovered the answer quickly. I have been on a quest to try new things and challenge myself with new ways of being in the world. As a result, I have been adding numerous activities to my repertoire. I have engaged with people more often. I pulled myself out of first gear on the book. I began meditating. I allowed myself to act spontaneously- going on a solo trip to Disney World, going to the gingerbread jamboree, trying a Bible study class at church one evening a week, entertaining friends- instead of “keeping to my schedule.” All these experiences have been good for me, and I enjoyed them. The problem is that time is a finite commodity and there are other things that are good for me that are falling by the wayside.

Working on new blog posts is one of those activities. My “normal” routine also involves walking 6-7 miles a day. That takes a lot of time. I also prioritize spending time with Max. I keep up with several friends in California and Hawaii. All these activities are critical to my well-being. As a result, I am adding more healthy dimensions to my life, but I am not dispensing with any activities. I am excited to see how these changes will enrich my life, but I must admit to a certain sense of hysteria as time flies by without me accomplishing everything I want to do on a daily basis.

This may be what retired people mean when they say they do not know how they ever had the time to work for a living. Retirement is one of the biggest transitions most of us will ever experience. Any kind of transition, whether it be retiring or simply trying to improve one’s emotional and physical health, requires adjustments. Learning the right balance in implementing those adjustments takes a little finagling!

What adjustments have you had to make to craft the life you want in retirement?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at

Have an adjustable day!

Terri/Dorry 😊