A Blooming Mid-Spring Challenge

Oh yeah….You read it right. “Challenge.” You, me. More on that in a minute.

But first. Thank you so much for your insightful comments on love and marriage. I’m working on that booklet and will include everyone’s words. Yes, even you guys who thought you couldn’t offer any advice…your words were filled with wisdom. I mean, just go back and read them. Full of wisdom. Thank you.

Now about this “mid-spring” challenge I’ve conjured up.

Well, not yet. Let’s talk about “mid-spring” first, in all its glory, then we’ll get to that “challenge” part. 


“Mid-spring” is what I’ve always called this particular time of the year, the time after May 1st. There is a huge difference in weather in the southeast between March 21 and June 21, so I can’t call that whole time period “spring.” It doesn’t even feel like the same season, really. Cool and delightful in March. Hot and humid in June. So what I’ve always done is divide it up into three parts: early spring, mid-spring, and late spring.

Hmmm…what is it about the sounds and smells and sights of mid-spring that are so invigorating? They seem to be a call to action.

The sound of mid-spring is of birds singing. In my yard these days, the loudest bird is the mockingbird. He sings all day long. And even into the late evening. My local mocker is truly impressive. He has mastered the songs of a ton of birds. I’ve heard that some mockers learn to mimic house or car alarms, or whistles from people. But not his guy. Not yet anyway. I’ve only heard bird songs from this mocker. He is a real show-off too. I’m sure he has wooed the ladies with his impressive repertoire. I can tell you that I’m impressed. He is loud and clear and knows at least a dozen different calls. And he goes on and on and on and on…..(I couldn’t get a good picture of him this morning, but I was able to record his song on my camera. It’s over at www.rebekahteal.com if you want to hear it.)

The smell of mid-spring is sweet. The air in my yard smells of honeysuckles. Such a sweet, sweet aroma. Honeysuckle will bloom all summer long, but I notice it most in “mid-spring,” when it first comes out. Every year I smell it before I see it. I catch a whiff and know there’s a honeysuckle around somewhere. Then I go around and try to find it.

And of course, there is the familiar “honeysuckle rite.” You know, the one you learned when you were five or so. You pick a flower, carefully pinch off the little green stem end and pull the drop of nectar out with the—the—the—-I’m afraid I don’t know what that string thing in the middle of the flower is called—-I should have paid more attention in high school classes. I’m afraid I was a bit distracted. Boys, you know.

Anyway, I had to buy this candle because I love the smell so much.

The sights of mid-spring?  It’s flowers. They are a-bloomin’. Here’s a Cherokee Rose.

A close up:

These flowers are native to our area. This one grows up a tree in our yard. I thought it was a weed (briars) the first year we lived here, and I almost cut it down. I’m glad I didn’t. The Cherokee Rose is an old flower. Legend has it that it was originally formed from the tears of the Cherokee women as they wept. It is said to grow wild along the entire area of the Trail of Tears. And here’s some trivia: it is the state flower of Georgia.

And one more thing. Mid-spring also begins poison ivy time.

I found this guy climbing up a tree in the side yard. I’m not sure how to eradicate it since we gave up chemical weed killers. Hmmm. I guess some things are worse than chemicals? I have to think on that.

So spring around here is all about growth. 

This spring also became a time of growth for me.

Yes! I completed that 5k! And you know what? It turned out to be an experience that “grew” me. I can’t explain exactly how that happened. It’s just something random I picked to do and did it. And it was hard for me. But I stuck with it and completed it. I can cross that off my “bucket list.”

And the strangest thing of all is that I think I’m going to stick with running. Now this is beee-zarr. I really can’t believe it myself. I mean, I’ve never been a runner. Never been interested in the least in running. And running is kinda boring. And I’m about to be 47. And I have shin splints from training for that 5k. But on the other hand….it was truly a growth thing for me to do that training and run the 5k.

So that’s where the challenge comes in.


I challenge you to——-GROW. To bloom. Find something that will “grow” you. Do something just for you. For your health, physical or mental. For your spirit. For you.

Yes, I’m challenging you to do something. Not a 5k, but something for you. A mid-spring challenge that gets you thinking or moving or heading in a direction you’ve thought about, but haven’t quite gotten around to.

Can you name the last time you did something just for you? Something that was good for you? And something you benefited from?

If you’re like me, and I bet you are, that was a long time ago. We tend to do for other people and put ourselves on the backburner. The problem is that the things on the backburner (us) never get put on a front-burner because the front-burner stays so crowded and busy. And hot! There is always a fire to deal with on the front-burner.

I remember the first Sunday afternoon that I told my daughter and my husband that I was going out on a walk for this 5k training. Here’s what I heard: What?! What about our dinner party?! We’ve got so much to do! Don’t go!  

And you know what? I didn’t go.

But after that Sunday, I did better. They did better too. We had a talk and I explained that preparing for the 5k and running it was big for me. I told them that I knew it impacted my family because I had to take some of my time and use it for me. That was tough. Believe me.

I did it. I did it. I did it. I did it! I broadened my horizons by that experience. I felt empowered. Like I could do anything I set my mind to.

And that’s my mid-spring challenge to you. I challenge you to do something for you. Something that is good for you. I’ve learned that for it to “work,” it needs to be very specific. That is, instead of saying I’m going to start eating better, say, “I’m going to start eating 5 fruits and veggies a day.” (I just read that only 9 percent of us do that). Or ”I’m going to walk 10 minutes a day for 3 days a week.” Or “I’m going to start buying organic apples and milk.” Or “I’m going to take 10 minutes every morning and meditate or pray.” Or “I’m going to take a pottery class.” Or “I’m going to sell something I make.” Or “I’m going to learn to make bread.” Or “I’m going to grow tomatoes this summer.” Whatever works for you.

Just think about it. And pick something that will grow you. And nurture you. The main thing is that you find something that, once it’s done, you’ll feel good about yourself.

You deserve it, you know. You do so much for everybody else…

What is it? Leave a comment and share it with us. We’ll be inspired together.

Mine? Well, this running thing has been interesting. So my next challenge for myself is a 5k trail run. It’s at the end of June. Now that actually sounds like fun to me. Running through the woods. The woods are my favorite place to be after all. And surely, with 600 people in front of me and few behind me, the snakes will have scattered?

And since I’m challenging you, it’s only fair that you challenge me. I’m up for it.

I seem to operate better with the motivation of a challenge. So if you’ve got one for me, let’s hear it.

I’m also working some more on my bucket list. I’ve scheduled that Hike Inn. Woot!

That’s me. Laying low, loving life and living large.

Oh, my, I like that….I really like that. I think I have a new theme—–

Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!

Lots of love, The City Farmgirl, Rebekah


  1. Debbie says:

    Hey Rebekah!
    Great post! Your absolutly right about mid -spring and the opportunities it has for growth! Inside and out! All I have to do is look outside my kitchen door and see my "now" very tall Tree Peone. I swear if I go outside at night I can watch things grow! Only a few short weeks ago we were celebrating " new growth" in the garden! Your challenge is a good one! All of us girls seem to put others first… and that’s o.k. cuz giving to and loving those we care for best is what live for… But the well can run dry if it’s not refilled with things we personally love and need too~ Two years ago I signed up for riding lessons at the ripe old age of 47! for a solid year on wednesday mornings from 9-10 that hour was MINE…The economy took it’s turn and I stopped my weekly lesson then, but I tell ya it was my salvation and the things I learned about myself and horses was to me at least imeasurable… I’m hoping to be back in the saddle real soon.. and in the mean time I’m growing a gigger vegggie garden this year,food, walking 3 x’s a week consistantly, and adding more color to my summer garden.. just cuz I love it and I’ve got an art show coming up which I am joyfully preparing for!
    Thanks for the reminder that we need to give ourselves some " sugah" while we are sprinkling it over everyone else!

    Enjoy this day and best to you on your run!!!

    Dandelion wishes,

  2. I’m proud of you. Every 5K starts with a bunch of aching muscles and the surety that it can’t be done!

    Hooray, hooray!

    I don’t think a 5K is in my future for health reasons BUT I finally challenged by brain to a 5K and started writing down one of the stories I tell my Granddaughters.

    If you have a quiet moment, with an iced tea, sitting amidst those lovely mid-Spring flowers I would love to share it with you.

    This link will take you to Chapter One! I think this might be a story you would enjoy! http://jennymatlock.blogspot.com/2010/04/my-first-story-time-tuesday.html

    You know that quote? "You live your life like you live your days"?

    I am determined to make every day in my life count!

    I’m savoring Rebekah. I’m savoring!

  3. Cindy says:

    Thanks so much for identifying the Cherokee Rose for me! We have many of these growing down our lane, and I wondered what they were. And you are right about the honeysuckle! I lost my sense of smell about 2 years ago, but my daughter tells me that it’s just heady this year! I miss that smell!Well..all smells. Don’t you just love the wild roses too? I think they are so beautiful! Georgia is so beautiful in the spring! Thanks for another great story!

  4. Oh, I’d forgotten all about sucking Honeysuckle nectar! There is nothing sweeter or more fragrant. Thanks for the little jaunt down memory lane. It transformed me from a gray haired matron back in to a wee lassie with long braids the color of black coffee…sipping on flowers in my grandparent’s back yard. :o) shery

  5. Cathy says:

    I’ve got a natural way for poison ivy if you want to hear it. When we moved to our property I ended up with poison ivy from head to toe (literally) 2 years in a row. We had vines growing up our walnut trees about 8" in diameter! We chopped the vine at the base and made a solution of 1 cup dishwashing liquid, 2 cups rock salt and 1 gallon boiling water. Stir and pour quickly over exposed root at dusk (very important). The ivy plants feed at night we were told. Anyway that killed the vine after one application.
    As always, I enjoy your blog…

  6. Suzy says:

    I am determined to start back WALKING again. Even though I get a lot of exercise tending to this homestead and all these livestock by myself (farm is mine, husband not interested)…it’s just not the same as when I was walking four miles each day. So I am determined to get some GOOD walking shoes and begin walking on SCHEDULE again! I feel better when I do it, I look better, and I might even shed a few pounds which again will make me feel better!

    Thank you for this challenge! I may go walk my "track" right now (I have an area I keep mowed all around the pasture!)

  7. Melody says:

    Last September I attended a Michigan Oral History Conference in Marquette, MI. at the campus of Northern Michigan University. This is where I met the Secretary of MOHA, Geneva Wiskkanen; my dear friend and mentor. Nena and I hit it off right away and over the course of the weekend I learned many valuable things from her about documenting and archiving history.

    Just a few weeks… ago in early spring, I decided to proceed with a project that I have been wanting to do since the conference; gathering a collection of Farmgirl Histories,and compiling them into a little book.

    I posted a requested in the chat room of MaryJanes Farm web site for Farmgirls that were interested in participating and the response was staggering! My collection is growing every day and the answers are in such depth and detail. They are funny and sad and tell the rich story of their families. I am enthralled!

    I feel very blessed to be the one to record these histories.I am learning about the determination of these girls and their families and also the love of this land through their own farmgirl histories!

    I know this project has, and is, changing my life–A little seed was planted back in September and before long a lovely tree of history will soon be up and growing; stretching and reaching for the sun.

  8. Linda Mae says:

    I issued a challange this year because I will be 50 in July. So for the second half of life I’ve decided I need some overhaulin’. I’m gunking out the old and flowing in the new in almost every aspect of my life. Emotional, spiritual, physical and gardenal (which isn’t a word but went with the al theme!)
    I’m forever happy that my great God is a God of second chances….although I’m probably on my at least 100th second chance…there’s still time to reflect, pray and change.

    Oh, i’m also going to do a workshare on a farm this summer! that’ll be great since we just moved to the city…:)

  9. Rene says:

    Well, now that you mentioned it – I learned how to spin yarn on a spinning wheel which I thought would be easy since millions of women spin!! Not so! It is difficult to stay consistant with the width of the yarn and I was very tempted to give up but I didn’t and now I am VERY proud of myself for sticking with it. I still need to keep practicing, but spinning is so much easier now. Thanks for reminding me!

  10. Julie says:

    I love reading your blog.You are such an inspiration. Just a few days ago I signed up for an online class called "The Herbalist’s Path". I’ve been wanting to for years and I finally started.I’m so excited to be doing this as it’s been a long time dream. I have also decided to start eating organic and to eat less meat. I’m also putting in more garden area in my back yard. Finally, the herb garden I’ve always dreamed of. That’s alot I know but I’m always full of project ideas and I am determined to make them happen. Thanks again for the inspiration. Blessings!

  11. Barbara says:

    Love this post and want to share it. However, I don’t see an easy way to do that. Why is there no Share box here?

  12. carol Branum says:

    Rebecca,thank you for you blog and all of the inspireing comments,I have been low on ideas lately.The last really neat thing I did was ANNIES PROJECT,a class on how to actually be a farmer.Since then I have been working a second part time job,and have been tired and low on new ideas.I am pushing myself to buy more organic food,and less meat.My challenge to you and to your readers is to take square dance lessons.It is a dieing art form of dance,and it is so much fun.It is also a cheap activity,and with so many people low on money now days,they should try to have some cheap old fashioned fun!Our club charges 3 dollors per lesson,and 5 dollors gets you intrance into a dance,plus a pot luck meal.Thanks for some good ideas,and girls wash that gray right out of your hair with Redkens new cover fusion,ask about low lights for you gray headed girls,Serry low light your hair!and Rebecca,I also challenge you to have your hair curled with CHIs new ORBIT IRON.I would love to give you girls{Mary Jane} a new retro look!The Orbit gives you Taylor Swift retro curls,you will love it!Laying low,loving life,and living large on a beer budget,blessed be,Carol Branum,themofarmersdaughter@blogspot.com

  13. I actually recently gave MYSELF a Spring Challenge: invite people over every Friday. Stop waiting for the house to be clean or for a special occasion. So, we now fling open the garden gate every Friday from 4-6pm and enjoy "Fridays in the Garden". We offer local snacks and wine, ice water and tea, and we sit down… yes, SIT DOWN, for 2 hours, in the garden, beside the running fountain, and actually talk to whatever friends wander through the gate. This Friday will be our 3rd week. It’s a treasured time and I’m so glad I did it.

  14. Darlene says:

    I have just completed my 3rd straight semester of college. I am 42 and decided after my babies flew the nest that I needed to do this. I am loving it! Today was my last final exam and I have taken the summer off, so no classes until the end of August. The whole summer is splayed out in front of me like an enormous playground. What WILL I do? I have a thousand things I need to do.. but what will I challenge myself to do? I challenge myself to walk each morning, 5 days a week. When I walk it is me, God, and his creation all around me. I am going to give this gift to myself!

  15. Joeby says:

    My challenge is to do a destination half marathon with my husband and daughter next January. I am excited! I have never ran more than a couple of miles in my life – I’m 42 and up for the challege. I am also seriously gardening for the 2nd year. I love it!
    As for killing the poision ivy…not 100% sure it will work, but I have read you can put full strength vinegar plant you are wanting to kill – as long as it is in the sun, and it will kill it. I think it has to have full sun to work. Most of us have vinegar and it would be worth the try.
    I really enjoy your blog!

  16. Carol in NC says:

    Now don’t get all romantic on us about that Multiflora Rose. Sure, it looks great while it’s blooming and we ooh and ahh but what a battle in reality! I’m constantly fighting them on my place because they are so invasive (they’re actually from Asia) and I have threatened to get some goats to do my fighting for me. And as for the honeysuckle, well, same thing but I have to admit that I still love to suck out the nectar….

    On a brighter note, I got a pristine old Singer treadle sewing machine a few weeks ago (Thanks Mary Jane for the idea) and have been having a great time!

    I love the ‘Fridays in the Garden’ idea from commenter Donna!

  17. Jennifer says:

    Yesterday morning I went on my one of my daughter’s field trips with her school to the Landis Valley Museum her in Central PA. During the trip we stopped at the Old Country Store and I picked up this great book – Sunflower Houses. If you have kids or gkids you need to research this. So here goes my challenge to break out of the non-creative side of me AND BONUS do something cool with my girls. I could go into great detail about the Sunflower House, but what I would really like to ask is if some of you have done this and some tips. Best wishes to all on your challenges and send a little my way please.

  18. kay says:

    My mid-spring smell came to me today as I was putting
    carrot seed in the ground. Outside of my garden fence I
    have a row of Lily-of-the-valley blooming…now that’s a wonderful smell…

  19. Valynne says:

    Congrats on the 5k! That must have felt so good. The trail run definitely sounds like more fun to me. My challenge to you is to keep us posted on your successes : )

    As for my mid spring challenge…I am taking an online travel writing course that begins next Tuesday. Excited and nervous. My challenge is to set aside three hours a day to focus on writing and nothing else. No excuses.

    Regarding vinegar; this is the second time I have read about it being an effective weed killer this week! I can’t wait to try it for myself. I use it to clean mirrors all of the time. One can replace most harsh chemical cleaning agents with baking soda, essential oils, borax, etc…

    Thank you for another inspiring post Rebekah, and Happy Mid Spring Everyone!

  20. Peggy Beck says:

    My first look at your blog and I love it. I found the magazine Mary Jane’s Farm first and have been in love ever since.

    I lost my significant other in Dec. of last year and I have been challenged to reinvent my life since. I am just now starting to think of what I would like to do with this now lonely life to make it super. I love your idea of challenging ones self and today I signed up for a new class in needle felting. Thank you for your post and wisdom.

  21. NAncy says:

    Thank you for sharing this delightful article. I totally agree,my favorite season in Colorado. Love the sound of the Hummingbirds returning and the baby birds in the nest in an old barn wood birdhouse in my garden,it is a sight and sound that I find comforting.

  22. Katy says:

    I love your blog! I wanted to post a comment to let you know, nice job! I feel inspired whenever I visit Mary Jane’s Farm. Katy

  23. Amy says:

    My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

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