Finding Unexpected Joy

By Beth Casebolt

image of a brown and orange butterfly on a yellow flower in a garden

Five years ago or so my family decided to plant a pollinator garden in a section of our front yard. We plowed up the earth, and scattered wildflower seeds we had collected and some we had purchased. The first year we got a lot of different flowers, all colors, shapes and sizes, blooming at different times of the season.

But since that time, what we see each year has changed.

While each year has yielded a variety of flowers, with different colors, shapes and timing, they change every year, some we have never seen before. And each year has given us a dominant flower in the garden. One year we had tiny purple flowers. Last year was the year of the yellow flowers. This year we have had these pink-purple flowers.

In addition to the changing of the colors outside my front door, this has also resulted in different birds, butterflies and bees showing up. The first year all the butterflies were very small white ones. Each year since we’ve seen more variety in size, color and species of butterflies. The two butterfly images on this page were taken in my garden.

black and orange butterfly on a pink purple flower in a garden

What this experience has taught my entire family is that we need to be open to the unexpected. And the unexpected can sometimes be a very joyful surprise. This year’s unexpected surprise was our first hummingbirds, flitting among the flowers and then to the Rose of Sharon that grows next to the garden. One of our summer delights is sitting on the porch watching the visitors to our pollinator garden.

As we start our new church year, take time to find the unexpected joy that shows up in our communities. What flowers are growing in your community that you didn't know you planted? What unexpected visitors may you have in your community? Where is your unexpected joy?

May you and your community find and celebrate the unexpected joy in your community this year.

About the Author

Beth Casebolt

Beth Casebolt is the Operations Manager and Communications Consultant for the Central East Region. Prior to regionalization she served as the District Administrator for the Ohio-Meadville District, a position she started in November 2007. She is very interested in universal design, websites & more.

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