Roses and Bread

Back in January, when I first embarked on my “year of roses,” I wrote about the labor slogan “Bread and Roses,” which was a rallying cry in the early part of the 20th century among working-class women for a living wage that permitted all workers – not just the “leisure class” – time to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

I still feel that is incredibly important, but this post is addressing a different kind of “bread and roses” – the rewards that come from taking care of others. This is sometimes referred to as “casting bread upon the waters,” from the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes (Chapter 11, verse 1 for those of you playing at home). While the verse has been interpreted in several ways, I like the idea that it’s a metaphor for being generous without really expecting anything to come back to you.

This notion is completely in keeping with the Diva journey – as I’ve explained before, being a “Diva” has nothing to do with being an entitled brat. Remember the word derives from the Italian word for “goddess,” and we are certainly not deities of destruction here!

Here in western North Carolina, it’s a lovely fall day after a hellacious storm a couple of days ago caused by the remnants of Tropical Storm Zeta passing through. The yard is still a mess, but we didn’t have trees come down and we didn’t lose power, as many neighbors did. The storm has passed and I’m writing this on Halloween, a day devoted to the tricksy, the delicious, the scary, and the haunting. Let’s make it “treat” instead of “trick.”

I have spent today drinking very strong coffee, looking at beautiful art in a coffee table book (I was looking for a particular picture and one thing led to another, led to the library), listening to light jazz while working a bit, and baking fresh bread (Divas love bread machines!) to pair with a carrot-ginger soup recipe I tried the other day. To me, making and eating good soup and bread in the fall is an act of self-care – and soups and stews are always better a day or two later!

I also went outside and fussed around with chrysanthemums and planted pansies – tough flowers that can thrive on little care (my kind of plant!). Once those were all arranged, I re-filled the bird feeder and suet rack to take care of the little things that life is often so very hard on. As a result of my efforts, I’m far from being the serene, well-put-together sort of diva right now – I’ve got dirt packed under my fingernails and my T-shirt and jeans are dirty. (Plus, the jeans just don’t fit right – time to get my diva on and find one single pair that actually fit properly instead of falling back into the old habit of thinking that I don’t matter enough to have clothes that fit correctly.) But I feel great that I took some time to create something beautiful and to do something beneficial to creatures who give me song and joy.

It’s a hard year, divas. Be kind to others – call a friend who you haven’t seen in a while, feed the birds, set out a dish of kibble for the strays. And be kind to yourself – take a hot bath, listen to music that uplifts you, use something that you’ve been “saving” for an Occasion – wear your diamond stud earrings, serve candy corn on the good china, break out that lace tablecloth.

Indulge yourself – and cast some bread onto the waters, not knowing or expecting a reward for doing so.

Roses.

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