The Zinnia Tradition

Every summer, we plant zinnia seeds in hopes they will grow tall and bloom throughout the summer. Because of the frosty mornings in the springtime, we start seedlings indoors. But many of them die after we move them into the yard. Iowa weather throws out surprises: wind-storms, and down-pours of June rain combined with flooding of flower-beds. We then drive up to the local garden store and buy a few zinnia plants to mix in with the survivors.



Would you believe these seedlings grow as tall as a person? The best part is how the hummingbirds love them. Goldfinches land atop the flowers. The symphony of life and colors makes it an anticipated tradition. Well, that’s because my family and I love birds, maybe everyone doesn’t feel this way. Butterflies also swarm the zinnias, and our cat watches them out the window for hours. The blooms make beautiful bouquets, too.

This connects with writing…little seeds of practicing. Over time, a writer’s words may plant a field of flourishing zinnias for others to enjoy. I don’t know about this yet; my books sit unpublished, and oftentimes the things I write stay filed on the computer or inside of a notebook. But, in the practice of writing, I’m building a habit and growing each day.


Writing Prompt: Experiencing The Beauty of Hymns

Find a hymn. For example, my favorite is More Love to Thee, O Christ, by Elizabeth Prenitss, or take a look at Leland Ryken’s newly published book, 40 Favorite Hymns for the Christian Year.

Read through the song, or listen to a singing of it on YouTube. Then, try writing an additional stanza for the hymn in the same verse and syllable count, as if you could sing it in praise to God. Copy the rhyming pattern and use words that flow along with the theme of the original stanzas.

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