ORANGE A-PEEL (BLACK EYED SUSAN VINE): Did you know the center is fake? One of my co-workers encouraged me to poke a pen through the middle, and I exclaimed, “I don’t want to ruin the pretty flower!” But lo and behold, the black center is hollow!



DAHLIA: I think because I lost my corresponding notes that went with the flower pictures. Some sort of pretty striped dahlia, if there is such a thing.

UNIDENTIFIED FLOWER: I compared my photo to the interweb pictures of poppies (nope), impatiens (no), pansies (definite no), and petunias (maybe), and I couldn’t find a definite match.



SUNROSA SOFT PINK ROSE BUSH: Although 2017 is almost half over, I think this picture is one of my favorites. How beautiful is this picture? Pink is normally not one of my favorite colors, but this flower pot caught my eye at work. Since late March I have been working part time at a local floral nursery, and despite being on my feet all day and dealing with some immature co-workers, I like the job.

LITTLE LUCKY RED LANTANA: Gerber daisies have always been my favorite flowers but I have since discovered two more flowers I love: lantana and dahlia. Because I really have no knowledge of flowers, I work as a cashier, but I have been able to identify some other flowers other than daisies and roses. The tag on the flower pots help greatly whenever I see a pretty flower, but I have fallen in love with the lantanas.

YELLOW RIEGER BEGONIA: How gorgeous are these yellow begonias? So beautiful! Sometimes I wish I had a green thumb and a little bit of patience to deal with flowers because I would definitely plant some begonias. The new seasonal job has kept me busy and out of trouble (I think) for the past few months. Did I mention I started writing a completely new book in late February? I feel I’m halfway through it now.

RED RIEGER BEGONIAS: The book, called “The Beautiful Brannick Boys,” is about four sisters being raised by their dad after their mom skips town to “find herself.” The idea and the characters had been bouncing around my mind for a few years, but one day, I sat down at my computer and just started typing. Next thing I know, I have a few chapters completed, started an outline, and find myself at the halfway point.

LUCKY YELLOW LANTANA: I’m not sure if the flowers in the middle will bloom white or yellow. The buds look white, but it will probably bloom yellow. Either way, the lantanas look beautiful! Anyway, the job has sucked up most of my time, but I try to write on my days off or whenever I’m hit with a little bit of inspiration. More time will find me when the seasonal job ends, but for now, the extra cash is nice.

DALINA MIDI MARIANA (RED DAHLIA): Red and orange are hard colors to capture just perfectly, which sucks because I love the color red. More specifically, I love red dahlias, but really any color of dahlias are pretty. Back to my story, the extra money will come in handy when Charlie and I finally buy a house! We are in the very beginning stages of house hunting, and I look forward to the day when we finally become homeowners.

DALINA MIDI MARIANA (YELLOW DAHLIA): I think this snapshot perfectly captures the beauty of a dahlia. So pretty and perfect. If I can find a pretty flower that needs watering once a month or less then maybe I’ll plant something — maybe being the operative word. I also apologize in advance for more picture posts featuring flowers because I see so many pretty flowers at checkout.

BRAVO WHITE PETUNIA: I could spend a good hour walking around the greenhouse and snapping pictures of beautiful flowers. Thank you so much for all the love and support when my mom passed away. I am slowly, but surely, returning to my blog and other projects when I have the time and energy. Running around a nursery all day exhausts me, but at least, it keeps me out of trouble.



EDITOR’S NOTE: The last names in the obituary have been changed for privacy reasons.

Cynthia Andersen

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Cynthia (Goldberg) Andersen, 67, of Cedar Rapids passed away Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, at Hallmark Care Center in Mount Vernon, Iowa.

Cindy was born to Henry and Bertha Goldberg on Aug. 16, 1949, in Corpus Christi, Texas. She graduated from Lutheran High School South in St. Louis and Concordia University Nebraska. As a commissioned minister she taught in Lutheran schools in North Miami, Fla., Washington, Mo., Independence Kan., Plainview, Minn., and Rochester, Minn  She loved to read, sew, travel, and sing in church choirs. Her travels took her to all 50 states.

Cindy is survived by her husband, Ken Andersen; three daughters, Jennifer (Charles) Holmes, Kristen (Jason) Bluth, and Becky (Pat) Heck; two sisters; one brother; six grandchildren, Ethan, Gavin, Thanh, Cole, Tate, and Shelby;  numerous nieces and nephews; and other family members and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents, one niece and one nephew.


EDITOR’S SECOND NOTE: My family held two memorial services for Mom — one in Iowa and the second in Minnesota. Unfortunately, freezing rain cancelled numerous traveling plans for those planning to attend the Minnesota service. My dad gave my sisters and I permission to share his personal words at the end of each service.

“… The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Cindy had these from the day I met her. I became a better person from being around her as did her students. So it seemed especially UNFAIR when her FTD robbed her of her emotion, then memory, and cognitive ability. I taught middle schoolers so I had a few standard lines about unfairness and they began to haunt me. Like ‘the fair is in August,’ ‘if you want fairness be prepared to get what you deserve.’ It was all very hard to understand and it shook my faith.

“These past few years could have been a lot more difficult except for a couple of factors. One of those was was that I lived and worked in the midst of people who prayed for me and cared for me. I don’t think most of you understood that you were standing in the doorway of my soul and keeping the devil out when my anger and lack of understanding of God’s will made me vulnerable.

“The other is that I always knew who wins in the end. For quite some time though watching commercials and videos about soldiers being reunited caused me a lot of grief because I knew that Cindy was not going to recover and she was not going to know who I am or be glad to see me ever again. I felt like a dope the day it hit me that I had been looking at this quite selfishly. She was going to be restored. The day was coming when she would be singing and skipping across heaven to greet the Savior that she loved. I could envision the joyful reunion with her dad and her mom. And, yes, some day she will greet me also. I was able to pray ‘thy will be done’ with joy instead of resignation. I began to look forward to the day of the restoration of her joy, her singing, and her love.

“So last Tuesday, while I was filled with grief I was also filled with joy.

“My prayer for you is twofold. I pray that you surround yourself with people who will guard the door to your soul when difficulty arises in your life. And I pray that you would know the Jesus that she knew, loved, and taught about. It is in the risen Savior that all hope rests.”

I miss you, Mom.