[shop stories] broken butterfly

[Once a week or so, I'll share the story behind an image available for purchase in my shop.]

I sat on the deck for hours watching over this broken butterfly. I don't remember how many pictures I took; there were a lot. I lost the ones I didn't post to social media when my laptop crashed (and I realized I had redundantly backed-up some photos, but had not done any back-up of others…. save copies of your photos in two or three separate places, people).

Most of what I know about moths and butterflies I know from reading Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter. This year for school we're studying zoology, and I'm looking forward to some deeper reading about these creatures and their moth cousins.

[shop stories] sunflower

[Once a week or so, I'll share the story behind an image available for purchase in my shop.]

This is the first year I've tried to grow sunflowers. I planted the entire pack of seeds. I had a total of ten sprout. Of the ten, this is the only stalk to make it. As I'm typing, there are SIX full blooms, with another ten already formed. The stalk is taller than I am, and she is beautiful. Also, she attracts so many bugs. There are continuously bees and ants and teensy green spiders and a small white spider aanndd some other bugs I can't identify that I think wrecked my cucumbers.

Funny how the beautiful and the helpers go hand in hand with the destroyers, right?

So far, the Crimson Queen (that's what her seed pack said, seriously) has graced the cover of a notebook and is going up in a dear friend's kitchen. So fancy.

[shop stories] tomatoes

[Once a week or so, I'll share the story behind an image available for purchase in my shop.]

Y'ALL. Tomatoes might not have much scope for imagination, but the plants on my deck experience remarkable depth of field. These are amazing because they go through a sort of rainbow process – green to yellow to orange then red. Where the sun hits, they turn deep purple. I want to photograph the tomatoes almost every time I walk out on the deck.

[shop stories] pink blossoms

[Once a week or so, I'll share the story behind an image available for purchase in my shop.]

This is one of my favorite images ever.

I took the original photo in early 2011, before I had daughters, when I was almost drowning in an attempt to start a photography business and justify my stay-at-home status after finally finishing my college degree. I would stay awake until dumb o'clock trying to create more and more and more. It's safe to say that most of that work didn't last.

Oh well. It was practice, and a series of good NO JUST DO NOT lessons. I was still fighting to learn my camera, and how to really use the available light. I remember being disappointed a lot. But this picture was different.

We were at the Birmingham Zoo.

It was lovely all by itself – it didn't require editing to be okay. It gave me hope and confidence.

And then it went to the next level, because it worked perfectly when I began to experiment with adding "texture" layers. I took a bunch of photos of crazy things like gravel, concrete, our floor, the trunk that's still in my living room. Stuff like this:

I used Gimp, an open-source (free) software program, to stack them and toggle some options, and make magic happen.

You can order pink blossoms from the shop by clicking here.

don’t freak out

You know how things that make you roll your eyes or shrug when you’re above a neutral emotional level can make you want to hide under the bed when you’re in a fragile emotional state? Well. I’m trying to encourage myself and everyone around me to refuse to hide under the bed. 

Listen to Megan. Like, really hear me.

DON’T FREAK OUT. 

Yoga breathe (4 seconds in, 4 seconds out; repeat; try to use your nose) or SQUARE BREATHE if yoga breathing doesn’t work (4 seconds in, hold 4 seconds, 4 seconds out, hold 4 seconds; repeat).

When the kids keep dumping shovel loads from the $13 bag of potting soil, don’t freak out.

When you find the rice sock. Ripped open and leaking rice. IN THE WASHING MACHINE. After it’s washed the laundry.

Don’t freak out.

When the caterpillars are eating all the things, and you know they’re eating all the things, and you can’t find them, don’t freak out. Try again in the morning or evening. And then don’t freak out if one poops corn sprout on you. 

Don’t freak out *again* after you freak out because the kids are freaking out because it’s hot and everyone is tired and no one wants to do the next thing so everyone is so mad that they are ready to just quit doing this fun thing and never have fun again. I might have missed a step or a condition. But. Don’t freak out. 

Just be miserable together.

It’s way easier to say it than to remember it, and way easier to remember it than to adjust course and follow through.

But.

People.

I am tired of being confronted with the idea that it’s okay, it’s FUNNY, to be miserable and ragged and frustrated and frantic and angry and exhausted. We get in that space. And it is terrible. And then we need to arise and go, because it’s no place to stick around. AND WHEN WE REALIZE WE ARE STUCK THERE, we need to know that when we announce it, we are going to be met with encouragement and helping hands. Not with shrugs and “That’s life.”

Did you know that even busy, complicated, tough, stressful life can be beautiful? Did you know that when you can’t FEEL the beautiful things, you can still acknowledge them?

It’s not wrong to want your life to feel less chaotic. It’s not wrong to look for better answers. It’s not wrong to truly rest. It’s not wrong to need help. It’s not wrong, it’s not wrong, it’s not wrong. 

Don’t freak out.

Or, do freak out. And then keep moving.

astonished at his teaching

The story of Jesus cleansing the temple is familiar to me, but when I read it this latest time I noticed something.


Let’s take it apart and work backwards:

  • all the crowd was astonished at his teaching because it was fresh and new 
  • the chief priests and scribes feared Jesus because he was telling truth and it stripped away their power
  • priests and scribes heard and were seeking a way to destroy him because he just had to go
  • the temple had been made a den of robbers not obvious robbers, but cups that were washed on the outside and still filthy inside, and people who deliberately took advantage of worshipers
  • “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations.” was already establish as a holy idea
  • Jesus was teaching them he didn’t just pitch a fit and wreck the established order
  • Jesus would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple – Can we agree that it’s no great stretch to imagine this included mental baggage? LET IT GO, or go make it right, and then approach God with empty hands and a ready heart. 
  • he overturned the seats of those who sold pigeons at what I imagine to be inflated prices, because it was more convenient to buy Level: Basic than to bring an offering with you
  • he overturned the tables of the money-changers because, again, the reason they were even there was to take advantage of a need; things that should have been taken care of prior to approaching God
  • he began to throw out those who sold and those who bought in the temple – he pushed them back to their proper place
  • Jesus entered the temple in Jerusalem and he did so to clear up the clutter and the wrong attitudes that had encroached on that holy space

I’ve heard lots of good things about this passage, but somehow I had missed the idea that Jesus didn’t just clean up the temple and kick BAD people out and shout a lot. He upended what had become normal, and he explained. He utilized a teachable moment, and he wrecked the pay-to-play power system that had been established. 

In some ways he made offering sacrifices and paying temple taxes more complicated, which stinks for the poor people who had journeyed to Jerusalem to do right things. But in so many ways he showed how to simplify and clarify the process. 

mother’s day

I am propped on my bed in the sunshine.

 It is Mother’s Day. 

Mother’s Day is not my favorite.

 I know too many people who hurt extra hard for Mother’s Day.

It took me a long time to admit out loud that I don’t love Mother’s Day. 

I love Mothers.

I love families.

I love people who hurt because of mothers and families and broken hearts and busted dreams and hopes that keep on hoping.

So, as Mrs Rachel says to Anne, “If you can’t be happy, be as happy as you can be.” or something like that. 

We can pick good things for today, even if they feel fake and we want to hide under the bed.

brains and breathing

If you have listened to me at all, ever, you have probably heard me say “There’s some real science about that now!” This can be confusing for me, because depending on who is reporting the science, it can be misleading or wrong… I have statistics trust issues. But when things make sense to me, I am willing to accept them as more likely to be true. 

So – knowing that next week someone could say “NOPE, that is WRONG.” – here’s some science I can get behind, because I have anecdotal experience:

How Slow Breathing Induces Tranquility (from Neuroscience News) Breating slowly and deeply on purpose helps your brain keep you calm. You can mellow out by BREATHING like you’re mellowed out. 

Your brain reinforces what you’re mindful of. (from Fast Company) The article title is something about deleting information in your brain, but it’s like pink elephants – you think about things trying to NOT think about them. So. Instead. Think about good things, things worth remembering. Over and over and over again. On purpose.

a new project

I’m putting together lists for a blog project, and (as usual) I need help. I want to write more about journaling and goal-building and building intentionality and Bible study and responsible self-care and planning and feeling crazy but knowing that’s okay. But. I am not always sure where to start. 


Talking with you darling people helps me so much. So please talk with me. 

Wait. Let’s make a list so we are together. I want to write more and with greater intention and broader reach about:

  • journaling
  • planning
  • goal-building
  • Bible study
  • learning on purpose
  • building intentionality
  • responsible self-care

What are your favorite things from this list?

What things make you wanna bash your head against a wall? 

Where do YOU feel strong? 

How do you want help with these things? 

Do you have favorite resources for any of them? 

Have you made or helped to make/provide resources for any of these things? (I know you have. Lay them out here.)

What do you think about when I mention them? 

If you didn’t have to worry about failing (please note that I did not say you would not fail, I said you didn’t have to worry about failing), what would you try?

What other catch-phrases or border clichés go with these words?

You can email me at megan(at)meganfloyd(dot)com, you can comment here, you can direct message me through Facebook or on Instagram (or comment on this post link there). 

I look forward to hearing from you!

meristem

My previous post was about an outdoors science math project adventure on Ash Wednesday, when we looked for Fibonacci spirals in nature and then watched videos on Khan Academy. I mentioned that I learned a word (and then I just stopped the post, yay awkard closings). 

THAT WORD IS MERISTEM.
Meristem is (thank you, Merriam-Webster) formative plant tissue.


So. Meristem.

Leaves (or petals or whatever) get started in the spots on the meristem where a growth hormone (auxin) is most absent. When leaves begin developing, auxin concentrates on that growth. The NEXT new leaf comes in where the auxin has flowed away. It turns out that the optimal placement of new growth (for access to minimally-blocked sunlight) is in a spiral. Leaf placement at 137.5 degrees around the stem creates a *drum roll * Fibonacci spiral, which allows for perpetual spiralling of new growth. Or something like that. I’m not completely clear on the science/math, and there are exceptions (or oopsies and alternate placement).

I WAS EXICTED BECAUSE, in “real life” as in nature, growth opportunities happen when we flood what already exists (our current project/responsibility/duty/task/to-do list items) with resources (time, energy, money, whatever) and then evaluate the gaps that have been created. I dunno about in nature, but in my life what happens is that I get focused on a few specific areas, and other things don’t get attention. Let me be really honest and say that it’s more like the gaps start squealing for attention. 


One of the things that I wish would just magically happen for me falls in with the idea: I wish I could catch the gaps and adjust the flow of resources before there’s a screaming disaster. It’s why I spend so much time building goals and evaluating what works and trying to clear out (prune, if you will) what’s not working. Sometimes I get nervous that I’m wasting resources or that I’m cutting out the wrong things, so I just kinda sit back and don’t do much of anything.

We don’t grow when we’re sitting still, refusing (for whatever reason) to utilize resources. (I DO NOT GROW WHEN I AM SITTING STILL.) We have to keep moving so that we can see the gaps and what’s producing fruit and what is just sucking up energy.

I’ve been working on a project with this in mind, and I’m hoping to share some more ideas soon.