We can feel it in the air. The sun nestles into bed a tiny bit earlier each evening and gets up a little more lazily the next morning. At sunrise the air is crisp and cool, the earth damp with dew. The songs of crickets and cicadas are constant and loud. Summer is stepping aside and ushering in the next season. We may call it autumn, Indian Summer, fall, or harvest time; by any name it is the favorite time of year for many of us. The land begins to take on a new color palette, softer and a bit more subdued, as the crops and flowers start drying down and begin their miraculous process of producing seed for the next year.

Ah, September. Punctuating the browning ditches are brilliant blobs of buttery yellow sunflowers. The wild kind. Some would even call them a weed but not me! I love to cut an armful of them and plop them in a loose arrangement in my old silver pitcher. It  makes my eyes happy to see their brown faces and bright yellow petals in this once elegant old vessel. No longer shiny and spotless, it has darkened over time. Some might call it tarnish, but I don’t. I call it patina and I do love that word. When I wipe off the water droplets and set it on my old walnut clock shelf,  I believe no arrangement from the finest florist could be any more beautiful.

sunflower showing Fibonacci by StanIt seems as though the sunflower has recently become a symbol for happiness and of faith. There is nothing in scripture or history that really says that, but the unique way they always pursue the sunlight does make us think about how we should always follow the Son’s light! For the same unique reason, sunflowers appear to march along like loyal and devoted followers. They impart a feeling of optimism, always looking forward to the promise of  a brighter tomorrow!

I’ve had sunflowers on the brain lately thinking about the intricate design in the center of each one and how I love bringing them indoors to study. Sweet serendipity! Today my brother sent me not just one but  five stunning photos he took in a field of sunflowers that’s almost a mile long and located just a short distance from his home. I had almost forgotten how the sight of an entire field full of the dinner plate size flowers is both surprising and beautiful. It’s been years since I have seen one but they always made me slow down for a better look when I was zipping along the open road. Seeing acres and acres of sunflowers is incredible enough but this particular field near Interstate 90 in Ohio tells a touching story about a special little girl that I hope you will take time to read here.

There are many references in the Bible to the way flowers of the field are effortlessly beautiful, clothed in splendor by God’s hand and there are verses that remind us that in life, all things ultimately fade, wither and die. We should not be overly concerned with the day to day but rather live in the moment and look to the eternal, always trusting in our Father’s provision.

Today I’d like to share this brilliant thought from a man who understood more about the mysterious workings of the universe than almost anyone else who has lived. I certainly don’t support all his beliefs, but he definitely had this one right. When I read it, it always makes my heart smile.

“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein

Betty Streff

Betty Streff began her career as a customer service representative for a large corporation in Omaha. Four years later she found herself to be a farm wife in a small rural community with limited opportunities for women. After a humbling self assessment, she listed her assets as talents for sketching, sewing, and the natural ability to strike up conversations with complete strangers. Using these and her optimistic nature, she began stitching up some bibs and pillows for a craft show, who wouldn't? Over the next 25 years she became a serial entrepreneur obsessed with studying faith, spirituality, leadership, motivation, and management as she developed her businesses. Betty has spent the last few years working in corporate America in the hospitality and manufacturing world and she continues to immerse herself in the study of what makes people tick. The explosive growth in the relatively recent science of positive psychology fascinates her. Betty devours everything she can find on the subject and is especially intrigued with people who thrive no matter the circumstances and in discovering ways that happiness and optimism can be learned. She is currently exploring ways of sharing and cultivating the exciting possibilities with both individuals and businesses. She and her husband Steve have been married 45 years and are blessed with 2 incredible daughters, 2 fantastic sons-in-law and 6 amazing grandchildren.