Lessons from the garden

Our area has been on the wet side of a tropical storm/ hurricane, so we’ve spent several days inside, reading, cleaning, and watching the streets flood.   With the storm dissipating after three days, I thought this would be the perfect morning to weed before it got too hot.   I thought I might just “hang out” with the Lord and marvel at His creation; unfortunately, the mosquitoes and the ants had a similar plan, making new homes and laying fresh eggs.

My mother was a gardener, as well as an amateur ornithologist.    I, however, always thought of myself as having a brown thumb, pun intended.   My first experience, and in truth, my first interest, with caring for plants came after people blessed us with plants in her memory.   I guess I thought that if I kept them alive, in some way, I was keeping a part of her alive.    (Interestingly enough, for a totally separate reason, I am also enjoying learning more about birds, too.)    That was 18 years ago.   Now I value the time in the garden—it’s time alone, you can readily see the results of hard work, and the spiritual insights are invaluable.   As I toiled, I began to process these truths:

  1. Weeds will sometimes grow faster, taller and deeper than plants.   Sin in our lives takes root and spreads quickly.    It needs no fertilization; simply having soil that allows it to germinate is enough.

 

garden;weeds;flowers;plants

 

  1.  Weeds are often as attractive, if not more attractive, than the surrounding plants.   I thought so much about our children in thinking through this.   It is amazing how the flesh is satisfied with doing things that go contrary to what we’ve been taught.    Each week when I’m in the grocery store, I ponder why people feed the billion-dollar industry that has been birthed from the hurts and suffering of today’s celebrities.    Gossip and slander, for some, has triumphed over truth.

 

  1. Weeds are thickest in untouched areas.   I can always tell where the weeds are thickest—where the ants are, or near the nest of a mud dauber.   “Heart issues,” as Mary (@Canadagirl) describes them, are no different.   There are sensitive areas that have lain dormant, allowing weeds and would-be predators to all but snuff them out.    These areas need the touch of Christ to emerge and blossom as He desires.

 

  1. Weeds fight to remain planted.    I intentionally chose a day following three days of almost constant rain to get out and pull weeds.   Yet, even then, some were stubborn.   The more we allow foreign objects—foreign to the Word and will of God, that is—to take root, the harder the weed becomes to pull.    The flesh wants to rationalize, compromise and to bargain with sin, but we can only experience true victory when we flee from it.

 

  1. Pruning is necessary for growth.   I once posted about this years ago here.     The lesson from that post, though, is timeless:

 

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit—John 15:2

 

The devotional was entitled “divine pruning,” and focused on how God will not only cut off unfruitful branches, but even the fruitful branches must be cut so that they bear even more fruit.  Wow.   I continued to trim, and the imagery was so powerful.   I had to cut off much of the tree—the Lord will build your faith by almost destroying it—but what remained was rich, green, and beautiful, like the tree planted by the water, which yields its fruit in season.

 

garden;weeds;flowers;plants

 

Well, friends, enough said.    After those hours of weeding and at least one more in writing, it’s time to move on to other things, like grades and fried shrimp (smile).   May God bless you.

Advertisements

First Fruits (and Vegetables)

 

 

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.   

 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                             

 Matthew 9: 37-38

Mimosa Trees and Memories

There are mornings when I awake thinking, “I’m going to write a blog post today.”    It just feels like one of those kinds of mornings—the house is still quiet, the air inside is cool, and the sun is gorgeous coming through the window.    The only problem is that I don’t have anything to say.      I didn’t take notes or pictures during last week’s happenings, and so by now, Wednesday, I’ve forgotten it all and committed to simply begin anew on this coming week.    I think I’m also as discombobulated as anyone else regarding HSB’s upgrade, and I find myself having to get reacquainted with my blog.   If I’m able to post this entry straight from Word, this upgrade will have 100% of the features that led me to begin a second blog, one that I’ll consequently discontinue.    At any rate, I’ll work on getting Chronicles of a Blessed Heritage back like I want it after this week, which will, for all intents and purposes, be our last full school week.

With a blank slate but an active mind, I decided to do the one thing that had been on my mind to do for several days now—get a shot of my favorite spot around the house in spring.

 

Then I decided to pen my heart.    Where is my heart today?   On memories—how we make them, and how, good or bad, we must live with them.

This tree is special to me, in part because of its beauty, but largely because of what it represents.    As a child, I never noticed mimosa trees, though they grow wild in our part of the country.    Yet, when we began to pick plants for our own yard, my husband was drawn to it—not necessarily because of the beauty of it, but because of his great-grandmother.     I never met her, but I’ve heard stories.    One story is how my husband, a picky eater as a child (a trait that he passed on to our older two children), hated many meats, including chicken.   His parents were concerned about such limitations in his diet, and so his great-grandmother, who had more time, would grind meats with a hand grinder so that they could sneak them into his foods.    That’s the type of love and care that you take for granted at the time, but God gives you the life experience to make those small things mean so much in later years.   I’m also told that she lived in tropical south Texas before she became ill and needed more care.   Her yard was graced with a large mimosa tree—a tree that lasts in my husband’s memory as a recollection of her, and the tree that now graces our yard in memory of his times with her.   So this tree is special to me because it is special to him.

Lately, we’ve come just short of some true “come to Jesus”-type talks with our son about some attitudinal issues.    Super-sensitive boy that he is, he gets easily irritated when anything is said to him that he finds annoying or otherwise unpleasant.    And then he pouts and sulks, which he unfortunately inherited from his mother (although, thank God, I’ve been delivered from this behavior—for the most part).     I allow some of it; cooling off, so to speak, can be a good thing, and I do believe in the value of owning your emotions and having time to sort through them.   However, I also know that too much focus on self can lead to a destructive path as quickly as a constructive path.

Enter, stage right: my husband, who is such a big kid.     Our household is blessed to have someone who enjoys playing tag with the kids and running off, who likes to joke and kid around—it’s just not me.   In fact, I am sure that’s in part what drew us to each other: he has all the spontaneity and frolic that I lack, and I’m the calming force in his life.    Anyway, our son has gotten increasingly annoyed with hubby’s playful spirit, and we’ve crossed the line into disrespect.    When I say disrespect, I mean not speaking when spoken to, not acknowledging that you’ve heard what is said, and mumbling/ rolling of eyes when addressed.     So, last night before family prayer, I told my son, in no uncertain terms, how I felt about his treatment of his dad.    You have a gift, I said.    I went on in a modified version of that speech we’ve all heard about the number of children starving in other countries while you waste food—the speech that usually comes after you’ve turned your nose up at your parent’s hard work in buying and preparing meals.    In this case, though, the message was as follows:  do you realize how many kids wish they had a man in the home to spend that kind of quality time with them?    And I continued with the position we put ourselves into when we take things, and people, for granted, because I truly think that is the root of the problem (or the way that the devil has manifested in this particular instance).     Growing up comfortably in our little lazy suburb, with two parents and a loving family environment (not to mention a school environment!), it can be easy for a child to forget that, in these times, that’s more than most can claim.

So as I reflected on that mimosa tree this morning and the images now tied to it, and as I thought through these trying times with our son, I pondered what his memories would be of growing up.    I want to believe that he prayed about his attitude, and that he’ll be healed, delivered, and set free from some things.    I want to believe that we won’t have any more problems with this.   Yet, I also know that there are some realities of being a parent that you don’t understand until you become one.   I pray that we won’t have to wait that long, but I also pray for strength in the midst of it all.   And I pray for my son.    May God give him—sooner, not later, would be my preference—the life experience to appreciate the big and the small things.   I pray that he’ll look on the model cars he made with Dad, remember the times he chased, or was chased, up and down the stairs, tickled almost to the point of tears, and so many other moments, and remember that whoever his Dad was and whatever his Dad did, he did with one purpose in mind—to show our son the irreplaceable love of his father.    May God bless you today.

This year's garden

At one time, I had the bright idea of beginning a second-blog–a nature blog.   I have to laugh at such a preposterous idea at this point as I struggle to keep this one as updated as I’d like.   Blogging can quickly become addictive, especially in an environment like HSB.   Where else do you get such encouragement, such warmth, and such wisdom?    However, I am finally getting the point–really getting the point–of paring down my activities and spending more time with the people and things that I consider high priorities.       Once I laid down my outside teaching responsibilities, I felt such a freedom in just being around the kids a bit more often.    Dance is over as of next week, and our church’s children’s programs take a break during the month of June.   We’ll have lots of time to simply breathe in each other’s space without the pressure of being on a tight timeline (usually the norm for us).   While starting to close down many of our books, I am fighting myself to do a new thing and not take on more outlets for the kids to get involved in.   Living near a big city means that every museum, college, park, and anything kid-friendly has the next great summer workshop.

So, even though I have placed the second blog WAY on the back burner, I love spring!   So, I’ll go ahead and post the pictures of our flower beds and plants here rather than continue holding them back for the second blog.     

 

This year, I went back to one of my favorite low-maintenance beauties, caladiums.    I was so afraid that I’d planted them too early as right after I put them in the ground, we got a freakish cold spell.    When the first leaf came, I went running out to get shots.   Unfortunately, the 2-year-old next door thought they were attractive, too–pretty enough to pull right out of the ground.   Anyway, so far we’ve managed to keep most of them planted.   I also kept a number of the old standbys–sego bushes, dusty millers, lantana, mimosa, banana trees and elephant ears.  I also have a relatively new find–Mexican firebrushes.  Around late summer, butterflies and hummingbirds love them, so we have a built-in nature study.

At any rate, this is our garden this year.   Once, we wrap up the recital, we’ll hit the road with Dad.   South Texas, with its tropical climate, and east Texas with its piney woods, promise to provide us with continued photos of God’s beautiful creation, even if I won’t have a separate  blog to post all that I take in.