June 20, 2003

The Daffodil Principle

I just came across this story I saved a couple of years ago. I didn't save the permalink but I know the original author is Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards.

It show what can be done with a little bit of time directed toward a single goal - This is a fine legacy of one woman who not only created something
magnificent and glorious but also inspired countless others.

    Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must come see the daffodils before they are over." I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead. "I'll come next Tuesday", I promised a little reluctantly, on her third call.

    Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and so I drove there. When I finally walked into Carolyn's house and hugged and greeted my grandchildren, I said, "Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in the clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see bad enough to drive another inch."

    My daughter smiled calmly and said, "We drive in this all the time, Mother." "Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears, and then I'm heading for home," I assured her.

    "I was hoping you'd take me over to the garage to pick up my car."
    "How far will we have to drive?"
    "Just a few blocks", Carolyn said. "I'll drive. I'm used to this."
    After several minutes, I had to ask, "Where are we going? This isn't the way to the garage." "We're going to my garage the long way," Carolyn smiled, "by way of the daffodils." I sternly told Carolyn to please turn around. "Mother, 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 that read "Daffodil Garden."
    We got out of the car and each took a child's hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path. We turned a corner of the path and 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 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 it's own river with its own unique hue.
    There were five acres of flowers. "But who has done this?" I asked Carolyn.

    "It's just one woman," Carolyn answered. "She lives on the property. That's her home." Carolyn 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 patio, we saw a poster. "Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Going To Ask" was the headline.

    The first answer was a simple one. "50,000 bulbs," it read. The second answer was, "one bulb at a time, two hands, two feet and very little brain." The third answer was, "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 forty years before, had begun one bulb at a time to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountain top. Still, planting one bulb at a time, year after year had changed the world in which she lived. She had created something of indescribable beauty and inspiration.

    The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration. That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time -- often just one baby-step at a time -- and 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 Carolyn. "What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five or forty 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 usual direct way. "Start tomorrow," she said.

    It's so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson of celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, "How can I put this to use today?"


Update:
I've been going through some old entries, googled the Daffodil Principle and found that this story has been retold on countless sites.

Just who is Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards?

She lived most of her life in the environs of New York City, though she now resides in Laguna Niguel, California. She is the mother of twelve children and the author of seven published novels. She has served in all the auxiliary organizations for the LDS church and has taught seminary. She is a frequent lecturer at women's conferences and youth events.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:03 AM | Permalink

June 19, 2003

Some of the best family stories are like this

When I was a young girl, we had a record called Pardon My Blooper. My siblings and I rolled around laughing at a pompous announcer who introduced the President of the U.S as Hooobert Heeever. We guffawed at any toilet joke.
About a good third of them we didn't get at all but my father across the room had tears rolling down his face trying to control his laughter.

This is one of the funniest emails if a bit raunchy, Iíve ever gotten. I don't know where it originated

    Subject: Take back the words? Ever spoken and wished that you could take the words back...or that you could crawl into a hole? Here are a few stories of people who did and do.... 1) How much for. I walked into a hair salon with my husband and three kids in tow and asked loudly, "How much do you charge for a shampoo and a blow job?" I turned around and walked back out and never went back. My husband didn't say a word... he knew better. Melinda Lowe, 39, Seguin, TX 2) I think I like.. I was at the golf store comparing different kinds of golf balls. I was unhappy with the women's type I had been using. After browsing for several minutes, I was approached by one of the good-looking gentlemen who works at the store. He asked if he could help me. Without thinking, I looked at him and said, "I think I like playing with men's balls." Colleen Collins, 31, Ferndale, MI 3) Nuts about You My sister and I were at the mall and passed by a store that sold a variety of nuts. As we were looking at the display case, the boy behind the counter asked if we needed any help. I replied, "No, I'm just looking at your nuts." My sister started to laugh hysterically, the boy grinned, and I turned beet-red and walked away. To this day, my sister has never let me forget. Faye Emerick, 34, Ellerslie, MD 4) I saw Mommy kissing... While in line at the bank one afternoon, my toddler decided to release some pent-up energy and ran amok. I was finally able to grab hold of her after receiving looks of disgust and annoyance from other patrons. I told her that if she did not start behaving "right now"she would be punished. To my horror, she looked me in the eye and said in a voice just as threatening, "If you don't let me go right now, I will tell Grandma that I saw you kissing Daddy's pee-pee last night!" The silence was deafening after this enlightening exchange. Even the tellers stopped what they were doing.. I mustered up the last of my dignity and walked out of the bank with my daughter in tow. The last thing I heard when the door closed behind me were screams of laughter. Amy Richardson,Stafford, Virginia 5) What kind do you want? A lady picked up several items at a discount store. When she finally got up to the checker, she learned that one of her items had no price tag. Imagine her embarrassment when the checker got on the intercom and boomed out for all the store to hear, "PRICE CHECK ON LANE THIRTEEN, TAMPAX SUPER SIZE." That was bad enough, but somebody at the rear of the store apparently misunderstood the word "Tampax" for "THUMBTACKS." In a business-like tone, a voice boomed back over the intercom. "DO YOU WANT THE KIND YOU PUSH IN WITH YOUR THUMB OR THE KIND YOU POUND IN WITH A HAMMER?" Diane E. Amov 6) For the last time.. Have you ever asked your child a question too many times? My three-year-old son had a lot of problems with potty training and I was on him constantly. One day we stopped at Taco Bell for a quick lunch in between errands. It was very busy, with a full dining room. While enjoying my taco, I smelled something funny, so of course I checked my even-month-old daughter, and she was clean. Then I realized that Danny had not asked to go potty in a while, so I asked him if he needed to go, and he said "No." I kept thinking, "Oh Lord, that child has had an accident, and I don't have any clothes with me." Then I said, "Danny, are you SURE you didn't have an accident?" "No," he replied. I just KNEW that he must have had an accident, because the smell was getting worse. Soooooo! I asked one more time, "Danny, did you have an accident?" This time he jumped up, yanked down his pants, bent over and spread his cheeks and yelled. "SEE MOM, IT'S JUST FARTS!!" While 30 people nearly choked to death on their tacos laughing, he calmly pulled up his pants and sat down. An old couple made me feel better by thanking me for the best laugh they'd ever had! 7) About last night... This had most of the state of Michigan laughing for 2 days and a very embarrassed female news anchor who will, in the future, likely think before she speaks. What happens when you predict snow but don't get any....a true story...We had a female news anchor who, the day after it was supposed to have snowed and didn't, turned to the weatherman and asked: "So Bob, where's that 8 inches you promised me last night?" Not only did HE have to leave the set, but half the crew did too they were laughing so hard!
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:43 PM | Permalink

Individuals asserting who they are one at a time

I came across wonderful quotes linked to extraordinary photos
at an unexpected place


If every man and woman were to take the meaning of their life and pursue it passionately, they would alter the social landscape overnight. In fact, that's how lasting revolutions are made--not by the raised arm of the masses, not by the military seizure of power, not by the political coup d'etat, but by individuals asserting who they are one at a time.
Richard Bode

Who is not satisfied with himself will grow; who is not sure of his own correctness will learn many things.
Chinese Proverb

It's what you learn after you know it all that counts.
J. Wooden

To a person uninstructed in natural history, his country or sea-side stroll is a walk through a gallery filled with wonderful works of art, nine-tenths of which have their faces turned to the wall.
Thomas Huxley

The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.
Voltaire

There appear to be no integrating forces, no unified meaning, no true inner understanding of phenomena in our experience of the world. Experts can explain anything in the objective world to us, yet we understand our own lives less and less. In short, we live in the postmodern world, where everything is possible and almost nothing is certain.
Vaclav Havel

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:12 PM | Permalink