Category: flowers

Spring! Planting and Weeding

gardenThere are lots of gardening plans out there for your garden – you can find them in magazines and How To books at libraries. 

Even Home Improvement stores have Do It Yourself guides for wherever you live organized by climate, growing season, water and sunlight needs, how much space you have, or what kind of plants you want – vegetable, blooming or ornamental.

I just came across one of the many Spiritual Garden Guides – perhaps this looks familiar:

Consider planting:

three rows of peas

. . . Peace of mind

. . . Peace of heart

. . . Peace of soul

close-up-cultivation-dig-169523four rows of squash

. . . Squash gossip

. . . Squash criticism

. . . Squash grumbling

. . . .Squash selfishness

three rows of lettuce

. . . Let us be faithful

. . . Let us be thankful

. . . Let us love one another

and no garden is complete without turnips

. . . Turn up for church

. . . Turn up with a smile

. . . Turn up ready to serve

It reminded me that we need to be planting purposefully in our lives as well as our gardens.  That we need to be weeding intentionally and regularly to avoid our beautiful blossoms being choked out by the weeds of the world.  So here are some fun weeds and seeds to consider!

You reap what you sow, so sow acts of kindness, encouraging words, and supportive attitudes.

children-1879907_640

Recognize that when you smile at someone, you are planting kindness and acceptance.  When you play with them, you are cultivating fun and joy.  When you give them a hug, you are fertilizing with love and security.

 

When you help a friend or child learn a task, you are planting patience and success into their future.   When you give them encouragement, you are growing confidence.  When you share, you are seeding goodness and selflessness.

hands-2168901_640

When you pray with someone, or let them see you pray, you are sowing faithful fellowship with God.

Everything you do is a seed of some kind.  Be intentional about what you plant.

weed gloves kneelingpad

And weeding!  There are many things that will choke the joy out of your life like weeds do to a garden.

If they’re not forcibly removed these weeds will use up all your resources – time, energy, enthusiasm.

So roll up your sleeves and get to work.

Start with something simple: weed out your family’s wardrobe.  Children grow, so every year box up clothes that don’t fit to store if you have younger children who will wear them later.  Or sell them, donate, or give them away.  Maybe you know a friend who has a younger child to pass them to.  Then pass them back if you can use them again!

That goes for your personal wardrobe too.  Box up nostalgic items you want to keep but clear out the rest that are out of style or no longer fit well.  And while you’re at it, get rid of any guilt or stress too, over bygone sizes.  Find the style and size you feel most comfortable in.  You will look more confident and attractive when you feel comfortable in your clothes.

Thistle

 

Weed out parenting strategies you think you should be doing, but that don’t work for you.  Parent from your strengths!  Know who you are and what things energize you so your children can see you parenting from joy, not guilt, fear or obligation.

 

cacti-gardening-grow-707194

Same for relationships.  Examine the ones that are thriving, then check the conditions of the others.  Some may be in need of TLC to keep them growing and others may need to be weeded out.

 

Weed out negative talk and self-condemnation.  We all make mistakes from time to time.  Some of us tend to dwell on those; constantly reminding ourselves of past failures and possible future ones.  Stop those inner voices with a “You wouldn’t talk to a friend that way!”

Instead, plant kindness to yourself – say positive things to yourself every day.  Rephrase “Well, you blew that!” to ”From what I just learned, I’ll do better next time.”

pulling-weeds-samanthas

Ask God to show you where weeds of sin, rebellion, or unforgiveness may be hiding.  Sometimes the roots grow deep before the leaves can be seen above ground. Confess those routinely to keep your soil healthy.

Planting and weeding.  It’s a process we go thru every year.  And not just in the garden!

Every day, by your actions and choices, you are planting things into and weeding things out of your life and the lives your family and friends.

The key is to recognize it and be intentional.

Happy Gardening!  Happy Spring!

 

 

Advertisements

If a Rose needs support – do I – Part 2

rosetrellisI’ve discovered putting a mature rose bush on a trellis can be a thorny and painful process.

Especially when the branches are heavy with blossoms and when the winding arms have already started down a path contrary to the direction I want them to go.

It’s the same with me. I’m the rose bush.

When I’ve been going my own way for a while, it takes more effort to change direction. To be willing to bend to the new way – even if I know it will benefit me in the long run.

 

 

book-1209805_1920

My trellis is the Bible. It’s the firm, never changing, God-inspired framework that guides and supports my life.

Often I know what I should do in a situation because the Bible is clear on its teaching. And I’m familiar with what it says. In these cases I don’t even have to think about my decisions.

Those instances seem natural to me. There’s comfort and support in the sturdiness of the framework that backs me. It helps bear my weight . And I lean on its structure as I grow.

Other times I come upon a verse that says something new to me and I feel a conviction to make a change in my attitude or behavior that causes some discomfort as I align myself to the structure of the trellis. That particular scripture becomes a sticking point for me that lifts me up, giving me guidance and new direction.

20180623_161520And then sometimes, there is a greater challenge. Without much thought, I allow myself to stray in a direction that feels freeing at first. It may be that other people are going that way and I think it would be fun.

But further down the path I see it leading me in a direction that takes me away from what I know is good. And I have to make a hard choice.

Sometimes it means making a U-turn and I have to bend over backwards to come back into alignment. That’s uncomfortable as I pull away from the people and activity I had joined. Uncomfortable because I want people to like me. And I want to be known as reliable and trustworthy, not fickle and inconsistent.

On rare occasions though, a U-turn isn’t possible. I simply have to cut off the branch entirely and discard the pieces that went in the wrong direction. This brings fear and embarrassment. Fear of what other people will think of me. They may question my choice, tease me, call me names, or talk badly about me behind my back. It hurts when I feel rejected.

Embarrassing because I made a bad choice and got myself into something I didn’t anticipate and couldn’t handle. These occasions are sticky, thorny situations. They are painful.

Painful because of the rejection I feel, but also a loss. I grieve the time and effort and resources wasted. And I grieve the loss of the relationships and doing something I enjoyed, at least for a while.

Fastening even one branch of a rogue rose bush to a trellis can be a painful chore. Its thorns scratch and grab at my sleeves, causing little snags or tears in the fabric. Sometimes they scratch and grab at me, leaving the skin on my arms full of small, bloody reminders of my efforts.

In my own life, redirection or pruning can cause just as much soreness and pain.

climbing-roses-1431123_640I haven’t finished the rose bush project yet. But as with my own life, we’re both works in progress. Thankfully my Gardener has a beautiful plan for me. With His endless patience and boundless grace He won’t give up on me no matter the scratches.

I love gardening.

And I love my Gardener!

 

If a Rose needs support – do I?

rosetrellis

I bought a trellis for my rose bush this weekend.

It’s for its own good.

It gives stability for the plant’s long, gangly branches that hang down to the ground. And it provides a framework to display its beauty.

But does the rose understand what I’m doing for it?

Does it resent being tied to a frame – limiting its growth to one direction or one plane? Is it grateful for the support? The stability it offers? Will it feel different from the other plants that don’t get that kind of support?

 

climbing-roses-1431123_640

 

This project caused me to think about my life and how I am like a rose bush

I want to have the freedom to go in any direction I choose or feel led. But do I need a trellis?  And would that look like for me?

 

 

book-1936547_640For me, the Bible gives me guidance, structure, some might say wisdom. But do I see it as wisdom and embrace it willingly? Always? Or sometimes, do I see it as restriction, leading me in a limited path that seemingly restricts my freedom?

 

I would love to say I embrace it all the time. But I have fought it, tried to get around it, occasionally wondered what my life would be had I taken a different path.

I hope, with the support of the trellis, my rose bush will stand tall, displaying its beauty and fragrance for all to enjoy.

roses-367378_640

And I hope my life will be the same. That God will be my gardener. And that I will embrace His Word to direct, guide, encourage, support and strengthen me whenever and however I need it. So that I will stand tall, displaying His honor and His grace for all to see.

 

Through Nature – God Speaks

The air was still, and cold enough to make your breath visible. There was a crispness in the crunch heard underfoot. The panorama of clear blue sky, bright shining sun, frigid lake and majestic mountains lay ahead like a still life watercolor. The one newly added element of beauty: a crystal, sparkling cover of frost on everything close to the ground.

ice twigs bird

Just yesterday, each individual blade of grass stood erect at attention, solid in its color, shape and form. Broad leaves on the grapevine fanned out, completely concealing clusters of heavy, ripe fruit. Tiny blossoms on the ground cover delicately looked up to form a carpet of color.

Beautiful? Yes. But this morning, the frost gives a fantastic surreal quality to the whole scene.

frostgrassThe cold has caused everything to bow down.

The tall blades of grass, still firm at their bases, are bent low in their length, all in a similar posture. The grape leaves droop from the stem, revealing bountiful clusters beneath. The small flowers, already low to the ground bend in humble submission. And yet, in this portrait of prostration, this vista of genuflecting humbleness, there is an exalting of each individual entity.

frosted leaf

The frost has covered and completely encased each blossom, each leaf, each blade of grass, redefining its shape and form in glittering beauty. The special uniqueness of each stands out and is magnified in glistening profile by the sun! What a picture of being humbled, but exalted, of bowing low, yet being lifted up!

Scripture tells us that one day every knee will bow, and for those who humble themselves in the sight of the Lord, He will lift them up. This very scene is played out in nature for us to see and appreciate.

frosted bent flower

It’s as if the plants represent us, bowing in the presence of our Lord. The frost is like the Holy Spirit on those who are believers. His light will shine on us and define us with a beauty that surpasses our own and exalts us in His presence.

This magnificent scene, so uplifting in its beauty, was short-lived; lasting only a few minutes before the heat from the bright shining sun took its toll on the icy beauty..

The image it created in my mind of what is to come will be with me always. I remain grateful that through nature…God speaks.

God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, His ways are not our ways

When I woke up, my throat was dry and sore. My head was stuffy and my nose was running. I began reorganizing my day so I could get the kids off to school and then snuggle back into my warm bed for several hours of recuperative rest.

There are not many things that would have thwarted this endeavor. But, when I called out to my youngest son to wake up and he responded with a raspy, croupy voice, that was one of them. I got out of bed and ran a tub full of hot water to make a steam room, and got him in there. Silently, I hoped my plans of sweet slumber would only be slightly delayed.

A trip downstairs to look at the calendar revealed that he was not buying the hot lunch selection offered at school, necessitating making him a lunch. AND that it was Band day, meaning an extra heavy load for him to carry. As I started the lunch, his friend and walking buddy phoned to say he was ready to go early. Since Collin was not ready and the steam would take a little while to work, I told his walking buddy to go on without him. Now the prospect of making him walk to school, late, alone, and carrying his trumpet was too much. The obvious solution: I should drive him.

I made his breakfast and took it on a tray upstairs to the steam room. He was sounding much better. After making his lunch and filling his backpack with various permission slips and homework papers, I resigned myself to get dressed.

In 20 minutes, he was looking, feeling, and sounding fine. With one last glance at my now coiffed covers, we were off.

my-lakeRight by the school is the lake I usually walk around for exercise and inspiration. While it had not been my plan for this morning, (remember my dreams of snugly slumber?) the fact that I was up and dressed and all the way to the school left me no acceptable excuse.

Even though walking the lake is something I really enjoy and something I know is good for me. I can come up with a myriad of excuses to avoid actually doing it. But God seems to know when I need it most. And when he wants to teach me something. Being close to nature makes me look and listen more intently to what He might have to say. So forgetting my sore throat, I began walking.

dahlia-2823975_640Not even a quarter of the way around the lake, I stopped to admire a beautiful dahlia. This tall blossom had grown huge and strong and boldly faced the sun. I remembered how many flowers bend to grow towards the sun; some even track the sun as it moves across the sky each day. I began noticing that other plants had oriented themselves towards the sun too. Not only the flowers, but some bushes had obviously sent more branches out in the direction of the sun.

What a lesson!

How often do we stand tall and face the Son? And how often do we shade ourselves a bit? Are we afraid of what His true light would reveal?

Facing the sun/Son is saying, “I am ready to receive what you will give me.” The flower receives sunlight that helps it live and grow. We receive life and growth and so much more from the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. God is prepared to send down His grace, forgiveness, love, peace, joy, guidance, direction, protection. We need only turn to face Him.

This flower, looking full into the face of the sun, reminded me of the words to a song I love:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus

Look full in His wonderful face

And the things of the world will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace

©1922 Helen Lemmel

As I continued around the lake I realized the truth of the statement in Isaiah 55:8-9 “God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, His ways are not our ways…”. My thought had been to stay in bed, hidden from the sun. But God knew I needed the healing power of facing and focusing on the Son. Being up and out had cleared my head and encouraged me for the day. I am so glad I walked around the lake and saw that dahlia.  So glad I can trust that He knows what I need better than I do.  So can you.