Bloom Where You’re Planted

Gayle_Cheyenne bookstoreThis blog post by Gayle M. Irwin

Spring sprung late this year in Casper, Wyoming (unless you count the few weeks in February in which we experienced some days of record-breaking temps and sun-filled skies!). The rain, snow, and cold, although contributing to greening grass and colorful, fragrant flowers, about did in the people I know in Casper and other parts of Wyoming. When mid-May comes, you desire sunshine, warmth, and outdoor activity… not clouds, cold, and confinement.

tulips 2As moisture fell from the sky, both in the form of rain and snow earlier this month, I took some time when the clouds dried up briefly and explored my yard and my neighborhood. I noticed tulips in vast arrays of color, from deep red to striped pink, from vibrant yellow to dusky lavender. Lavish lilac bushes separated one house from another, and hedges of honeysuckle with pink blossoms enticed a variety of songbirds to eat and sing from the branches.

One bush especially captured my attention. An old lilac shrub in my backyard, which my husband had cut back many years ago, and which I suggested last year we give up on and dig up, sprung to life this year. It’s small, but there is life, including a few fragrant flowers. Obviously, I’m glad we didn’t destroy the backyard lilac! Seeing the resurrected bush, and all the varied plant species in royal array, made me think of the old adage “Bloom Where You’re Planted.”

lilac flowers

That slogan is truly applicable to life and career, especially for me. I work part-time for a non-profit, and in many ways, my job is a gift: I work with wonderful colleagues, we do an important service in our community, and the three days a week allows me time to write, to speak, to travel, or to be at my cabin. Financially, it’s not bad either, considering it’s non-profit and part-time. I have four-day weekends, for the most part, giving me a few days each week to visit schools and/or to travel. At work, I’m often able to help write newsletters and share client stories (using fake names, of course) with donors, so I can use a skill/gift I’ve been given as well as use my brain at various other levels. Therefore, even though there are days when I wish I was not working outside the home, I can bloom where I’m planted.

Likewise with writing. I may not be the most well-known writer, even in my own state – we have successes like Craig Johnson, whose Longmire book series is a TV show available on Netflix and who travels the world, and Nina McConigley, who won a PEN award, got a book review by “O” (Oprah’s magazine), and is sought after as a speaker at literary and writing conferences as well as an educator on university campuses across the country. I will likely never be at their level, yet I have my niche, and it’s one I enjoy. Through my passions for writing and pet rescue I’m able to speak to children and adults, in schools and libraries, about the importance of the pet-human bond and then donate part of book sales back to those rescues that do such incredible work. Although I wish I was more successful financially in the writing and speaking arenas, perhaps that will come in time (and then, it may not). Meantime, I’m blooming where I’m planted.

City News Cheyenne_Oct 2015As the weeks of May wane and June (and hopefully summer) arrives, I’m looking forward to more “road-time.” I have at least three speaking and booksigning gigs lined up (waiting for two others to confirm), and I’m hoping to garner a few more magazine editor “okays.” In fact, I’m looking ahead to my writing future with the desire to write more short stories and articles. Chicken Soup for the Soul has new call-outs, including proposed pet books, and since I’ve had six successes with that publishing enterprise, I’m going to try for a few more. Perhaps this niche, short stories and articles, will be my future flowering shrubs; book authorship for me has grown daunting with lots of work that I’m not sure I want to continue doing. I have a few works in progress that I’d like to complete – but it hasn’t been, nor am I sure it is – the season. Maybe those will sprout and grow eventually, like my backyard lilac.

How about you? Are you blooming where you’re planted? Do you see growth in your work, whether that’s writing or a “day-job?” (or both?) Wherever you are, may the fruit of your labors be pleasantly fragrant!

apple blossoms


Gayle M. Irwin is the author of inspirational dog stories for children and adults, including Sage’s Big Adventure, Sage Finds Friends, Cody’s Cabin: Life in a Pine Forest, and Walking in Trust: Lessons Learned with my Blind Dog. She is also a contributing writer to anthologies, including the upcoming Chicken Soup for the Soul: Spirit of America, to be released in June, and Prairie Rose Publishing’s July release Pawprints on My Heart. Learn more at

SageBigAdventureFront-small   Sage Finds Friends_front cover   Cody Cabin_New Book CoverImage   Walking_FrontCover_small   Dog Devotion Book_Cover_Final   Dog Devotions 2 Book Cover Sage Advice Cover   Blind Dog Ebook Cover_updatedMay2014   Spirit of America book


18 thoughts on “Bloom Where You’re Planted

  1. Gayle, I have a friend who wrote a book, “Bloom Where You’re Planted” . It is such good advice, and if honest with ourselves a great way to live. Glad the lilac bush came back, and so happy that things are working out for you. It makes me so happy to hear of your successes. Here’s to many more. Doris


  2. I’m planting (my writing) and hopefully they’ll bloom well but hey’re the type of plants that only flower every so many years. i.e. it’s taking a while… Your summer looks set to be very busy- best of luck with your plans!


    1. Sometimes the best plants take the longest to bloom … but patience isn’t always easy, is it, Nancy?! I appreciate you stopping by, commenting, and your kind words. Best to you as well!


  3. What an inspiring post Doris! Sometimes we need to stop and look around us and give joy for the wonderful things we have and the lives we lead. Too many times people get negative, but your post is a breath of fresh air. Thanks for sharing!


  4. I hate to brag, but I’m definitely blooming where I’m planted. My memoir will be published sometime this summer, and I’m working on a short story collection. Good luck with everything you’re doing, Gayle.


    1. It’s good to brag, Abbie — how else would we know what’s growing for you?! I’m so happy for you and I’ll be looking forward to learning more about your projects and when they are released. Best to you as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I miss my lilac and peony bushes–two of my favorite and neither grow in Florida. You have some beautiful photos on here. Did you take them? I know of a few slogans that are similar to this one, and I do try to do as much good as I can where I am, and then God will nudge me along. Craig Johnson is from West Virginia before he moved up your way. I liked the series and I wish they would finish, I’m still trying to get through the first book. LOL Thanks for the lovely post. Cher’ley


    1. I didn’t know that about Craig, Cher’ley — thanks for letting me know! My husband just bought Craig’s latest and I started it the other night. Yes, I took the photos — LOVE my new camera! 🙂 No matter what “bush” or “flower” we are or where we are residing, we can all bloom where we’re planted. Thanks for stopping by to comment.


  6. Love that saying and try to live by it. Think I do as I have learned to embrace a number of new places during my 49 year marriage. I have great memories of something or things accomplished, friends made, and wisdom gained at each, while I mourned the home I left behind also! The past can’t be relieved, so forward to tomorrow!


  7. Congrats on all your successes and best of luck with your signings and publishing endeavors. I have yet to read the Longmire series although I have his first in the series, COLD DISH (I believe it’s called?). I want to read it but my TBR pile keeps growing! Lovely post and photos, Gayle.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve written about it on this blog before, but the thing that’s made the most difference in the vitality of my writing life is contributing to ClutchMOV, an online and print magazine. That’s something I never thought I’d do, but I’ve really enjoyed not only the writing but also the camaraderie of the staff meetings. It has energized all aspects of my writing.


  9. Not much of a gardener, although I use to edit a column about a gardening written by a cooperative extension agent. Does that count? Every time I read about your school visits and your speeches to community groups, I can’t help but be impressed. You sure have lots of get-up-and-go energy. I’m sure all your doings are getting reflected in book sales. Sharon had to put her 19-year-old cat Indy to sleep over the weekend. Every time she thinks about him she breaks into tears. She once had about 9 cats, now she is down to just one. When Sandy passes, I’m going to have to work on her to get a kitten. She says no more, but I think she needs them in her life.


  10. The garden of our new house is certainly blooming, as are the pots on the deck and elsewhere. The former owners were certainly into flowers. Now I have to learn house to take care of them. Don’t know what half of them are. 🙂
    My writing is just starting to poke its tip above ground again. Need to keep fertilizing it to keep it growing.


  11. This year in WV we had a monsoon season filled with rainy day after rainy day. This was not a good thing for me. Getting the camera wet is never a good idea so I cancelled several photo trips during the spring. I did utilize that time to put the finishing touches on my latest WIP so I guess I was blooming where I was planted even if wasn’t the garden I desired.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s