where I once saw weeds

I could post pictures everyday of her spinning and dancing in the yard. Everything is beginning to turn green and there is one spot full of purple flowers. Completely delighting herself, she’ll run around in her ‘flowers’ and bring me bouquets each day.

Then her brother told her they aren’t flowers; he told her they were weeds.

And she kept dancing. She kept spinning. She kept delighting in her flowers.


I keep thinking about those weeds and her dancing in them. She could care less that her brother calls them weeds. She sees beauty worth delighting in; she sees a field of wildflowers. It makes me think about life in general. There are so many times I look at a circumstance and see weeds or I hear the words of others telling me what I see is weeds. I wonder how many times a day I face something that at first seems undesirable and I see weeds, when I am actually standing in the middle of a field of wildflowers. I wonder how many times I let others tell me to get rid of the weeds when really I should start spinning and dancing in the flowers.

Today I am going to look for flowers where I once saw weeds.

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  • beth - Totally nodding my head! I will accept this challenge also!
    (The pictures are fabulous, by the way!)

  • danielle - Beautiful pictures. We have been talking about why the flowers are called weeds at our house ๐Ÿ™‚

  • kimberly oyler - if i didn’t know better, i’d think you took these on the side of a mountain in colorado. oklahoma is looking pretty nice covered in those “weeds.”

  • ashlee - Beautiful thoughts!

  • Gabrielle - “A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson. Beautiful photos and beautiful message. Thank you!

  • Kristin - I soooo love her spirit. <3

  • Kris Saia - Reminds me of this quote: many eyes go through the meadow but few see the flowers. Lovely post.

  • Amy D - i love this so much. i need to see the flowers where others tell me they are weeds.

  • Amy - Great encouragement for the day, and these photos are beautiful. Thanks for the inspiration. I’m reminded of Isaiah 26:3 – “. . . keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee.”

  • heather - i stole your last paragraph and put it on my facebook as my cover photo…you touched me today in ways i can’t express…i NEEDED to hear this one today…was having a negitive nancy day

  • Kathi - OH – such a beautiful, timely message that I will take to heart. I’m sure there are many that your words will minister to today! Thank you for this!

  • Anastasia Curtin - ….Beautiful thoughts….Looking at your pictures makes me think that we all used to be like that – full of freedom, desire to dance, discover and enjoy every single day as a new adventure…. But then we grew up and somehow we let in too much “life” – reality, and that fragile world full of genuine dreams and hopes got chipped and shaken by what we call an “adult life”…. I know it is not the first day of the new year, but I think we can make resolutions any time…Your post today inspired me to promise to my daughter, my family, and to myself to stop for a moment, look deep inside of myself and find what’s left of “that” world…. I want to run around free more, I want to see an adventure in every single day again, I want to dance in the rain, and sing a silly songs out loud,….I want to look for flowers where I once saw weeds……
    Thank you for the inspiration!

  • vada wetzel - Ashley,it seems like a no brainer to me…you could sell a collection of photographs with accompanying quotes and have that pesky college tuition paid in a flash.Just give me a heads up so I can have my money ready! who wouldn’t want a Campbell kids calendar or wall display??

  • Michelle Hill - Hi Ashely,
    Love. Love. LOVE!!! your blog.
    A few days ago, I left this quote on your instagram picture of firecracker dancing in the field of “flowers” and I thought it was worth writing again on here. I have a feeling everyone reading this quote will agree. I immediately thought of firecracker when I read this quote:
    “The universe is the stage on which you dance, guided by your heart”.
    And that she does ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thank you for sharing your world with us!

  • vada wetzel - Just in case you actually decided to sell a calendar the July page has to be Firecracker sitting on the steps in her wonder woman shirt,sunglasses and tutu! o.k.?

  • Izzy - This is so beautiful! I love her positive outlook on life!

  • Kaleigh - It amazes me how a child’s view of the world is so… untouched. If only we could all stay this positive throughout our entire lives! Beautiful, simple, honest post. Thank you! I needed this today!

  • Shannon - I once took a Horticulture class, and the teacher told us that the definition of a weed is simply a plant that is not wanted. Therefore, your daughter’s flowers are NOT weeds!

  • Teri - Of course they are flowers! What do boys know? So fun to see her enjoying her beautiful henbit flowers.

  • Erica Baker - Just lovely. Reminds me of this post when she was just a baby. I think this was the first Under the Sycamore post I ever read. http://ashleyannphotography.com/blog/2010/05/13/my-kind-of-happy-hour/

  • rachel - thank you for inspiring me:) I had a really really hard day, full of big huge “weeds”. I guess it’s time I see them as the unique bouquet of wildflowers God is gently giving me each day, a nice reminder of our bigger purpose in those fields. Totally learning from your little girl that it’s important to dance with them too!

  • Diana - I think I need your daughter to be my life coach. Thank you for sharing!!

  • Steph Rausch - Once in a golden hour
    I cast to earth a seed.
    Up there came a flower,
    The people said, a weed. – Lord Alfred Tennyson
    I have this on a small framed embroidery piece that has hung in every home I have lived in since moving out of my parents home. I share her view, anything with a bloom is a flower.

  • haley f - beautiful pictures…

    beautiful thoughts…

  • Eva - Yes, flowers not weeds. I just love her!

  • Jennifer - This post reminds me of a song I looooved growing up. It’s called Dandelions by Five Iron Frenzy > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zTem-KQ4Jk
    Maybe you’ll like it too ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jessica - So beautiful. Joining you in looking for flowers where I once saw weeds.

  • Hazel Palencia - That moment you caught reminds me of the song “Love song for a saviour” by Jars of Clay. You should have a listen to it when you have time, Ashley. Such a lovely moment it is! What a beautiful reminder!

  • Monique - Awe, my kindred spirit. I have a bud vase full of those very “flowers” on my countertop. They’re called henbit ๐Ÿ™‚

  • JR - I saw someone comment on another blog a few weeks ago saying “Weeds are just flowers that humans decided were useless.” Which I guess is a paraphrase of the Emerson quote someone posted here. Anyway, it really affected me because that had not occurred to me before! I always “snubbed” weeds because everyone else said to. Lots of weeds are visually pleasing, so why not enjoy them?! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jenny B. - Love it. I used to (before we started having our lawn treated) make my husband wait a long time to mow for the first time each spring because I didn’t want him to cut down the pretty flowers. After a couple of warnings from the local code enforcement officer, we decided that the lovely meadow had to go. It was pretty while it lasted. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Do you know the Jars of Clay song, “Love song for a Savior?” These pictures absolutely remind me of the song!

  • Heather G. - Love this sentiment! It reminds me of a song by Five Iron Frenzy that I loved in high school waaay back in the late ’90s. It’s called “Dandelions”. You would love the lyrics, but it’s about how a little boy brings his mother dandelions and she sees the beauty where anyone else would see weeds, just like God sees in us. Here’s part of the second chorus:

    “Lord, search my heart
    Create in me something clean
    You see flowers in these weeds”

    Such a lovely thought to think on. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sarah Stรคbler - These are lovely pictures!

    This reminds me of one of my favorite songs back when I was in high school, by Five Iron Frenzy – called Dandelions. “She sees flowers in these weeds.” Lovely sentiment.

  • Sarah Stรคbler - Haha looks like Heather beat me to it!

    Heather, we’re probably the same age!

  • Gillian Hall - I’ll take that challenge too! x

  • aber - She is just too much!! So precious:)!

  • Jenny - Hi. I would love to know what lens you used to take this set of pictures. I love how sharp they are.

  • Sandi - I am going to show this post to my husband (principal of a high school). We are always looking for some inspiration for his graduation speech. I think this would be a great start.

  • Melissa - Love this perspective. Beautiful photos! Were these taken with your new camera? Or your Canon?

  • MrsFun - I’m with her. They are flowers! They may take over fields but they are still flowers.
    Wild flowers ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • AshleyAnn - Melissa – these were taken with a Canon 6D…I really like the Fuji, but it limited me in a lot of ways. I also needed a DSLR for my SnapShop course. I’m loving the 6D. I need to write a follow-up post about it.

  • AshleyAnn - Jenny – I used a Canon 6D and 85mm lens

  • donna - You are such a beautiful writer, maybe it’s time to put the blog into book form. You make me laugh one day and cry the next, more people need to enjoy you and your family. Just a thought.

  • Andrea - Beautiful pictures!!

  • carolina - She looks like a free spirit!!

  • AshleyAnn - Donna – thank you! I have no clue what I would ever write a book about…I like short blog posts ๐Ÿ™‚

  • rhonda - Wonderful thoughts! And wonderful pictures!

  • Nicole L. - Kids have such a pure view of life sometimes. I love it. The pictures are adorable too. I love the one on her with her feet up in the air!

  • Renee - Oh, thank you! I needed to hear this today!

  • Sarah Shotts - Adore this!

    I’ve spent the week photographing my own wildflower yard for a blog post and saw this on Bloglovin right before I posted mine. Love the shots of your daughter enjoying spring so I gave you a shout out on my post. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Here it is:


  • Melissa - Awesome! So glad you are back to DSLR. You photos are so beautiful and always inspire me to put more of myself into my photography. I hadn’t been using my camera as much lately, but after catching up on your blog, it’s seeing a lot more use! Thank you.

  • Stoich91 - Haha Yes, I can remember, too, the day I was told they are not flowers but WEEDS. BIG difference. Hahaha ๐Ÿ˜€ Still looks like flowers to me! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Allison - A) “weeds” have flowers, as we easily see….

    B) Those are among the most fascinating flowers in the world. Those little lightest purple delicate “arms” that stick up. Their “base”. The leaf shape. The opening in flower bells where the bees can get honey, but protected by the hanging over lip. The colors in there.

    I spent *hours* and hours looking at them as a child. On stomach or sitting in a hot field, many years. Those are a never ending marvel of creation.

    C) do I see a drawing & dissection & plant category class coming on? Smile!

  • Allison - PS
    What size bees pollinate them & use their honey? Where/how do they live?

  • Sarah - Thank you for this wonderful post. It gives me excellent food for thought. It made me think of a story in a talk I’d heard years ago, so I looked it up and re-read it. (Here’s a snippet if you want to read it)

    A few months ago I had an opportunity to take a morning walk on a mountain trail with four of my grandchildren. We each brought a bag so we could collect treasures from nature. As we looked for pieces to put in our collection, we found many different colors, designs, and textures in the leaves and rocks. It was hard to choose. I soon noticed that the childrenโ€™s bags were filling up. Each leaf the children selected was unique, but because it was late fall, most of the leaves had dark weathered spots, irregular shapes, or faded and discolored parts. Because of this, I was reluctant to add things to my bag. I was looking for a leaf that showed the brightest colors and had no flaws. If it wasnโ€™t perfect, I wasnโ€™t going to treasure it. But this meant that my bag had very little in it.

    Later, as I thought about this experience, I realized that I had cheated myself of much delight and happiness that could have been mine. I didnโ€™t appreciate the uniqueness of the objects because I was looking for what I had deemed perfection. My grandchildren had been wiser than I had been. They had savored the odd shapes and spots on the leaves. They giggled at and enjoyed the brittle crispness of the dying leaves, and they delighted in the soft, faded colors. They filled their bags with happy treasures to take home. (from https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2000/04/living-happily-ever-after?lang=eng)

  • Randi - Beautiful photos, beautiful words. So very true.

  • Spring in NW Arkansas | Tidbits, Tales & Tea {Sarah Shotts Storytelling} Wedding Photography & Films for Arkansas, Missouri & Beyond - […] who feels this way about wildflowers. Be sure to check out Ashley Ann Photography’s blog post “Where I Once Saw Weeds” for her thoughts and some lovely shots of her […]

  • Spring in NW Arkansas - A Love Letter to Adventure - […] who feels this way about wildflowers. Be sure to check out Ashley Ann Photography’s blog post “Where I Once Saw Weeds” for her thoughts and some lovely shots of her […]