The scent of the wild pink rose floats in the wind every summer, as unmistakable as its beauty. When the wind blows and the rain pours down it leaves the branches bare and the ground a bed of roses, but the scent never fails. Beautiful things have the ability to bring happiness, even if only for a fleeting moment. Beautiful things also have an intense ability to make you realize how short life is, how vulnerable we are.
Another beauty that often makes my soul vulnerable is my Little One. The mind often wonders what it would be like for a little girl to live without her mother. It isn’t the reality and it isn’t what the mind wants to consider, but life is life, as unpredictable as it is raw, and sometimes our mind denies us control over how we think. The last few months have also been trying, with news of failing health of loved ones near and far. The truth that our parents are aging is harsh. It has been difficult, no doubt, but a quote from my friend’s blog revived my faith.
“Cancer did not diminish my faith in God, or weaken my relationships with my loved ones. It did not steal my hopes and dreams. It did not make me doubt my belief in myself and my ability to face any challenge. Cancer weakened my body, but my spirit has never been stronger.”
Florence is a survivor. She fought breast cancer like a great warrior. During the grimmest time of her life when the body was revolting from within she did not let her soul wither. I had always known her to be a woman of substance: nurturing, positive and always laughing. They say true personality awakens in times of great distress. Florence never changed. She started a personal blog in mid-August 2011, shortly after she started her chemotherapy, called The Perks of Having Cancer: Follow Florence’s Challenge to Find 100 Perks of Having Cancer.
“Perks of Cancer” – only Florence would think and accomplish something such as that. It was as if she looked Satan in the eye, laughed one of her hearty laughs, and said, “You must be kidding. ME? You think you can fight me? You can fight my body but not my soul. You can try but just don’t be disappointed, because I will fight back; and while I’m at it I will teach the world how to laugh at you”.
Her blog is truly inspirational, not only for those who are battling cancer or a terminal disease, but also has the ability to inspire anyone whose soul needs a lift, myself included. Florence proves that finding one hundred reasons to live life to the fullest in the face of death may be a hard thing to do, but it can be done because it is possible. So when my mind gets bogged down, I remind myself to keep my soul free.
I adore her courage, her strength, and most importantly her beautiful mind. I wanted her to know how important her ‘100 Perks’ are for me. The rain-beaten pink rose petals underneath the bush also reminded me of Florence and her love for flowers. The beautiful rose can be beaten down by the elements, but its scent will remain to sooth and calm the mortals.
Rose petals were collected and symbolically counted to one hundred so I could put them in a little jar as a small token of appreciation for her beautiful words of inspiration. It has also been decorated with the symbolic little “pink ribbon”. I have not told her yet, so when she reads this little blog post she will know that there is a little jar of Pink Rose Jelly waiting as an offering for her.
I wish I could make pink rose jelly for all the brave warriors and survivors out there (perhaps an idea for a fundraising project in the future). The rose jelly is a joy to make. It fills the house with the therapeutic aroma of the sweet wild rose – while preparing it you may feel like you are preparing a magic potion. That is how I felt. The taste is sweet, slightly tart, and beautifully fragrant. Everything about, from the collection of rose petals to eating the sweet condiment, is like LIFE!
Pink Rose Jelly (I also call it the Magic Potion)
YOU NEED: (makes 3, 250ml jars)
- Rose Petals (Pink or any other color): 1 and a half cup packed
- Water: 2 cups
- Sugar: 3 cups
- Lemon Juice: 2 tablespoons
- Liquid pectin: 3oz
- Clove: 3 (optional)
- When you select your rose make sure it is organic so that there is no trace of pesticides. It is also important to select the most aromatic ones. I collected home grown wild rose petals. Discard all brown and damaged petals.
- Wash the petals thoroughly. I tripled washed them.
- In an air tight container mix the rose petals with 1 cup of sugar. Mix and slightly bruise the petals. Store in the container in the fridge over night.
- Put bruised petals and sugar in a pan along with the rest of the sugar, 2 cups water and the cloves if using and bring it to boil. Boil for a minute or two, stirring a few times.
- The water at this point may turn murky in color but as soon as the lemon juice is added it will magically become a jewel toned pink.
- If you don’t want to keep the petals discard them now. Then boil for a minute.
- Add the liquid pectin and let the mixture come to a hard boil for about minute or two.
- Take off heat and pour in your jars.
- Enjoy on toast, cakes, and biscuit, with yogurt or anything that needs a little soul lifting!