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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

start tomorrow. just "one bulb at a time".

somedays it's hard to be a glass half-full kind of girl. life isn't always perfect. with the hustle & bustle of everyday life, sometimes i get a bit overwhelmed & am no longer my happy little self. recently, while trying to get myself out of recent "funk" i came across a favorite old story. reading it immediately put things in perspective for me, maybe it can do the same for you...

several times my daughter, julie, had telephoned to say, "mom, you must come see the daffodils before they are over." i wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from my place by the beach to her lakeside mountain home.

"i will come next tuesday," i promised, a little reluctantly, on her third call. the next tuesday dawned cold and rainy. still, i had promised, and so i got in the car and began the long, tedious drive.

when i finally walked into julie's house and hugged and greeted my grandchildren, i said, "forget the daffodils, julie! the road is invisible in the clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and the children that i want to see bad enough to drive another inch!"

my daughter smiled calmly, "we drive in this all the time, mom."

"well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears and then i'm heading straight for home!" i said, rather emphatically.

"gee, mom, I was hoping you'd take me over to the garage to pick up my car," julie said with a forlorn look in her eyes.

"how far will we have to drive?"

smiling she answered, "just a few blocks, i'll drive ... i'm used to this."

after several minutes on the cold, foggy road, i had to ask "where are we going? this isn't the way to the garage!"

"we're going to the garage the long way," julie smiled, "by way of the daffodils."

"julie," i said sternly, "please turn around."

"it's all right, mom, I promise, you will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience."

after about twenty minutes we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. on the far side of the church i saw a hand-lettered sign ... "daffodil garden"

we got out of the car and each took a child's hand, and i followed julie down the path. as we turned a corner of the path, i looked up and gasped. before me lay the most glorious sight. it looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it down over the mountain peak and slopes. the flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, saffron, and butter yellow. each different-colored variety was planted as a group so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue.

five acres of the most beautiful flowers i had ever seen!

"who planted all these?" i asked julie.

"it's just one woman," julie answered, "she lives on the property. that's her home," and she pointed to a well-kept a-frame house that looked small and modest in the midst of all that glory.

we walked up to the house and on the little patio we saw a poster ...

answers to the questions i know you are asking

50,000 bulbs
one at a time
by one woman
2 hands, 2 feet
and very little brain
began in 1958

there it was ... "the daffodil principle"

for me that moment was a life-changing experience. i thought of this woman whom i had never met, who, more than thirty-five years before, had begun - one bulb at a time - to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountain top.

still, this unknown, old woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. she had created something of magnificent beauty, and inspiration.

the principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration:

* learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time, (often just one baby-step at a time)
* learning to love the doing,
* learning to use the accumulation of time

when we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. we can change the world.

"it makes me sad in a way," i admitted to julie, "what might i have accomplished if i had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five years ago and had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all those years. just think what I might have been able to achieve!"

my daughter summed up the message of the day in her direct way, start tomorrow, mom," she said, "it's so pointless to think of the lost hours of our yesterdays. the way to make learning a lesson a celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask ... "how can I put this to use today?"

Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards
, Author

for more information about this real garden, visit HERE.
image via flickr.


i'm kelly said...

this has been one of most favorite inspirational stories for a long long time. tonight some friends & i got together for a girl's night out. we chatted about everything and anything. but one of our longest conversations revolved around "how can we do it all?" all of us are married. we all have children & the responsibilities that come with keeping house, cooking meals, etc. etc. but each of us also works... some of us work outside the home, others from home - but we all have to find time to earn a paycheck. with school and church, friends, and a slew of other activities we were complaining that there just isn't enough time. as i drove home, i was still thinking about this conversation & i was reminded of this story.

it doesn't matter what the situation is... everything can be accomplished, just one bulb at a time.

Christie said...

Amen, sister. Amen. Very inspiring and thought-provoking story. Thanks for the uplift today.

Verry Sherry said...

ok, love the story!
...though confused at first...

Am I the only one who was thinking:
"Whaaaaa? Kelly also has a grown daughter and grandchildren?" hehehehe

Becoming Me said...

What a beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing it. I had never heard it before and was very moved.

Shannon said...

WOW! That was very powerful! I will think of this story whenever I'm down about "not having enough time". I need to take it one step (or bulb) at a time more often! Thanks!

love.boxes said...

This is one of my favorite stories. I love the illustrations by Anne Marie Oborn in the illustrated version that Deseret Book published.. but I also love Jaroldeen's two other works of non-fiction Celebration (I think it's Celebration that includes the daffodil story?) & Things I Wish I'd Known Sooner. I wish they would put those two books back in print. She's a lovely woman. I wrote her a letter once to tell her how much I enjoyed her books and she wrote me back a very kind note.

Marilou said...

Great story! You can relate that to so many things in ones life. I am printing this story off to save forever.

Becky said...

Wow, that's amazing, thanks for sharing. By the way- I decided to do my own pre-school with my kids for the first year, and then he'll go next year. It was a hard descision, but the best I think for our situation.

Aranne and Dan said...

Thank you so much for you comment on my post first off!!! Also I too have been in a "funk" and this was an awesome reminder to me. My MIL gave me this book a little bit after I got married and I have not looked at it in a while. Thank you for reminding us all that if we are patient (which I am not) and do things one step at a one, one day at a time, we can accomplish any goal we set our mind to... I really needed that reminder (ESPECIALLY RIGHT NOW)!

the hogan's said...

Such a great story! I really needed this today...thanks Kel!

The Days said...

I heard this story a couple of months ago at one of my Mary Kay trainings, and I was really touched. It's a great story about patience, optimism, so many things! Thanks for sharing it again.

Laurie said...

What a beautiful story and perfect timing for me personally. ;)

mama jo said...

it's the type of story that always hits favorite thought lately is 'baby steps', just keep it in mind and you'll be amazed...or as kerry's blog said 'this to shall pass'

J&S said...

Kelly, I love, love, love this story. Thank you for sharing!

Amanda K said...

I have also loved this story for such a long time and love that you can do anything you want with just one step at a time. Sometimes we try and do too much and get discouraged but if we plant one bulb at a time, we will be much happier! Thanks for sharing this story and for its reminder.