Tag Archives: gardening

Thought-Collage Thursday // He makes all things new

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”  – Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden


How do they know? How can they be sure when I take them, tiny, dried and shriveled, torn from small packages and pushed into wet soil in little cups, into cold darkness – how do they know, I wonder, what to do?

seedlings in egg-carton

Do they feel dead, useless, abandoned, lifeless, forgotten, put aside, finished, afraid, or misplaced? How does a seed buried come back from that, literally come alive where it cannot yet be seen and fully break free – emerging gloriously spring-green from its dark burial place?

I have a counter full of seedlings springing up daily now, some perennials, pumpkins and squashes and decorative grasses, herbs and flowers to attract butterflies. The joy of watching them appear surprises me every time. I always live in fear they will not do it. I always wonder if I over-moistened the soil, or under-watered. Did I plant too deep? Was it a bad batch of seeds? Will these things really grow? And then – VOILA! They arrive.

I love it especially when I spy the tiniest green spec in a soil-filled egg carton section in the morning and by evening see this brand-new seedling has risen fully up to face the sun’s warmth through the kitchen window. How tenacious, how brave and resolute.

All of creation tells us the Story, THE Story. Jesus in a tomb, dark and cold. On the third day, He awakens, sits up pushing aside His shroud and somehow that stone is rolled away and He emerges victoriously: Life. New Life! All things are made new and nothing will ever be the same. How tenacious the Love of God, how resolute and steadfast.

What if?

being planted


What if you aren’t being buried, you’re being planted?

I saw this image on a Pinterest post {click here} and loved the hopefulness of it. What if...I mean what if we considered things differently, saw them from a different viewpoint? I am the worst at this! True confessions. But, really, what if...?

What if you weren’t ruthlessly expelled as much as thrown clear to keep you safe from harm’s way?

What if you weren’t unmercifully uprooted, but are being transplanted to a better location, a healthier place for thriving, a more spacious boundary line?

What if the delay, the seemingly endless wait wasn’t punishment or a sign of God’s displeasure, but part of His plan to bless you, set you up for amazing grace and favor?

What if the place you work, the classes you take, the house you live in, the people you know, the circumstances you find yourself in are part of God’s grand scheme to bless your community, to save a life, and to display His glory on the earth?

What if you don’t like what you have but what you want would hurt you?

What if the sun comes out and shines on the cold, dark soil of your current surroundings and the warmth and the rain and nutrient-rich burial ends up giving you nourishment and health you thought you’d never see again? It could happen.  I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

all things new


There is this brand new baby girl.

Just got back from a baby-birthing in Nebraska. I cry every time I get to see a baby born.  Oh it is hard work. The things a woman goes through from look-at-me-easily-breathing-through-contractions to I’ll-never-make-it-through-this to *Ahhhhh*-I’ll-do-this-again…Ha! Well, it is truly, truly miraculous!

So she came to this beautiful familia, her mommy and daddy and a big sister and big brother awaiting her arrival with great joy and anticipation. So much preparation, anxiousness and planning. And then the time comes – the actual time of arrival and this mystical, other-worldly occurrence.   Bebe is there in her hiding place, under the shadow, waiting.

And we wait. And we wait with patience and then patience wanes. And we wait with holy reverence and then we wait praying God will hurry things up. Please God, now, we are so tired…Then He does, and we are not certain we really wanted that prayer answered (yes, we are funny sometimes, aren’t we?)…Then…

At this intense moment of deep anguish, this rising tsunami-wave of hard-labor, this center-of-the-universe, roaring pain, from being swept helplessly away in the waves of birthing (only minutes ago having so powerfully breathed through each contraction, controlled and steady), from experiencing what seems like a certain death to a Let-there-be-light explosion of birthing to Life. LIFE! Again. Brand new life…From darkness to light. Weak yet strong. Poured out, yet able. It is finished.

And the mama, heaven and earth having just passed through her, trembles as she looks into the bebe’s sweet, small face. She knows the baby girl, and the baby girl knows her. And it is all worth it.

I won’t even attempt to wonder what birth feels like for the bebe before she emerges from the hidden place where the very hands of God have been knitting her together there in the secret place to being catapulted into bright light living?! That is a story for another day. But I can’t wait to tell it!

sayble 1

I get to be a doula sometimes {doula is an ancient Greek word that means “woman who serves”} and I am so honored and blown away each time. See this pretty baby? She makes me feel both young and old. The whole birthing experience takes me back and I remember again, the beauty of my own 5…but I feel the age I am at the end of the labor and delivery {Sayble @90 minutes old, honorary Nonna @much older and feeling it}.

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.  –Revelation 21.5-7 ESV

Welcome to the world, Sayble-J

sable 2

Welcome to the world, fresh and pretty girl, all brand new.

Thought Collage Thursday // Therapeutic Things

eleanor brownn quote

That’s my mom in the picture, enjoying her back yard! :)

Oh, it’s that time again!

That’s right, friends and familia, far and wide. This Thursday’s child is wild about Thursdays and my brain is inevitably running-over with an assorted array of somewhat disconnected thoughts and observations. Although I must tell you, I love finding the common theme after I have blurted it all out. That is always when the finished title emerges. Today? Therapeutic things, because you can and should attend to yourself, spirit, soul and body. Stay strong and healthy – it will bless everyone you love!

Enjoy spring.

I mean – can anyone really comprehend what it is like to have to live in a state that is so sunny-bright on these 70-some degree days in the spring with almost-zero humidity? Must I bear this cross alone? …Just kidding around with you, and maybe gloating a little.

The rainy days just past were purely lovely (more to come, I hear). They did what only spring rains can do. But the warm sun that follows, releasing the lilac’s deepest perfume – well, ’tis a glimpse of heaven, I am certain.

common lilac

NOTE:: If you do not own a lilac bush, go (immediately) make friends with some one who does and ask them if you might just stuff your face into the fully-florrid blooms in the heat of one of these spring-afternoons for just a few minutes. Therapeutic!

I wish I could dance.

I can’t. I can. not. Really. Everybody tells me it is possible, that even I could learn, but it isn’t. I was raised that dancing was a sin. My parents became Christ-followers through a “holiness” group that put the kibosh on most anything fun as being a “worldly amusement.” They pretty much lived by the mindset I am in the world, but I will not be amused by it.

Now my mom did say, many times as I was growing up, “Well, they tell me dancing is a sin. but if it weren’t, I’d get you ballet and tap lessons.” Haha. The obvious dilemma being that there was no differentiation, in the holiness standard, between dancing for joy, for art, for the beauty of movement and that shady stuff happening at dimly-lit parties with men putting their arms around other men’s wives after a few martinis, lusting and smoking cigarettes. No, just to be careful – rule out ALL dancing.

Never mind that the Psalmist, a man after God’s own heart, danced in the Bible! He also took his clothes off to do it. So that story never got told with flannel graph in Sunday School!

Somewhere along the way my parents figured out that dancing, that joyous release and movement celebrating being alive, and even the slow dance between married lovers, isn’t a chute straight to hell. They dance now! I even have video and photos of it, which makes me happy!

But it’s too late for me.

My feet are nailed by the heavy stakes of holiness-past to the ground. I’ve got rhythm. I just can’t seem to use it. I dream of it, though. I have dreams where I can run and twirl and leap and dance and practically fly. So, I can’t dance for now, but in heaven, I’m thinking I’ll be able to and wow, loving the thought!

HOWEVER – if you CAN dance, you should. You MUST! Therapeutic and free!

This really works.

Want to feel accomplished? Want your mind to be cleared and your life ordered in a way that makes sense? Grab your garden gloves (buy a pair at the dollar store), and a grocery bag. Head out to your garden squares or borders, the places where last week’s rains made the weeds feel all haughty and strong. Set your phone timer for 5 minutes. Grab hold of the obvious weeds at the base, the ones emerging in your borders and along fence lines. Pull. Tap lightly to return the soil to which they were clinging to its’ rightful place and fill your bag. In 5 sweat-free minutes, you’ll have stuffed that bag with unwanted, noxious weeds and given yourself a gift to enjoy later.

You can do this in the morning when you first arise, the cool of the day (God is always hanging around gardens, I have found). You can do it when you’re on the phone, or while the coffee brews. It works when you’re heading out or just getting back home, a 5-minute weed-pull here, another 5 minutes there.


Today it’s a chore, sure. But next week,  when you look at that small area, the ones where the weeds threatened to overtake your yard and garden (or where the grass hopped happily in to your garden beds), you’ll smile and reap the rewards of the time you tended your space. 5 minutes a day or a few 5-minute grocery-bag stuffings throughout the week: you’ll stretch and move and breathe and tend and have accomplished big things in short spurts. Good for the brain and body, satisfying for the soul.

“The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it.” Genesis 2.15

WARNING: Unused winter muscles will feel it and hurt, but in a good way!

Why you should sing.

Singing is amazing. This articles says singing (1) boosts cardiovascular health, (2) stimulates the brain, (3) reduces stress, (4) naturally heals and (5) builds confidence. But it’s also just fun.

You also need no special equipment to do it. And if you want to sing and be courageous, too, join a karaoke site. There are thousands of songs you can sing with just your smart phone and ear buds and it’ll be simply for your fun and enjoyment. And while I suspect it may have been considered “worldly amusement” by some for all of the “secular” songs there, I think it’s fun for the heart and soul. And they even have worship songs and church music if that’ll make it better for you. ;)

life is a song


You have to be brave and silly to sing on a karaoke site, but I’m doing it and it’s making me breathe deeper, which I need. I just posted “Harper Valley PTA” on a karaoke site this week and it made me laugh so much at myself. I loved that song as a kid, even though, as you might imagine, people who don’t dance also don’t like these types of drinking-adultry-miniskirt-type songs. :) But I did it. I just sang it anyway.

Len Sweet’s Bible Credo.

reading your bible

This poetic post about the Word of God, the scriptures, our Bibles – just made me want to go grab mine right away and get started on digging out the treasures, trying to comprehend the mysteries and just knowing the author of Love better, all over again.  Too much of my life has been spent shooting {or dodging} “scriptural truth bullets,” reading to try to figure out the “rules” or staying on the doggone one-year reading schedule** to earn divine points (true confessions). Sometimes this magnificent treasure has felt burdensome or life-killing. I do not want to pass that on to my grandbebes. I want them to experience the Logos and the Word made Flesh the way Len Sweet has so poetically  shared here.

“I believe you can’t go through the Scriptures without the Scriptures going through you… changing the drumbeat of your life as you dance to a new rhythm….I believe reading the Bible is not a disciple’s homework but a disciple’s holy play.”  ~Leonard Sweet

Did he say something about dancing??? :)

Read it. You’ll find yourself looking for the first available free moment to crack it open, to devour its pages and receive the words of life again! And again!

**PS I am not against reading plans…I have just botched them so badly I end up hurrying through and miss the whole {beautiful, “holy play” } point!

Call your mom.

Seriously. If your mom lives nearby, VISIT her. If she is far away, plan your next trip and call regularly. NO ONE has loved you longer! Except the Creator. But He chose her for you!

My mamala:

mamala collage

Let’s throw a parade!

As kids, parades were so easy, nothing but excitement, sound, color, horses (and shovels), Shriners in costume jewelry and little cars doing circles and patterns, with princesses on floats and marching bands. When you’re a kid, you don’t have to worry about where you’ll park and how you’ll fight the crowds or worry about who will clean up the paper mess afterwards.

But I liked this (from Pinterest, via Etsy):

kindness confetti

Let’s throw a parade! Let the kindness fly and the fun begin. First in our homes, with the people we love the most and then every where we go each day (school, work, stores, church) and give everybody the best parking spot and the curb-front seats to just being nice, in word and deed. We can make everyday a celebration-worthy holiday for some one, I am convinced!

I promise you, you’ll have the chance TODAY to be kind, or not. The confetti is in your hands! {No clean-up…now that IS therapeutic!}

Happy and Blessed Thursday, friends and family.

Take care of yourself and “Hey!” as they used to say on Hill Street Blues (which coincidentally aired on NBC’s Must-see-TV Thursday night line-up, “Let’s be careful out there!”

Under Siege in the Garden


Aphids. Hundreds, thousands…maybe millions (naturally I would not exaggerate about something as important as this).

So aggravating.

I went out to harvest a large bunch of the greenest kale leaves for stir-frying with garlic. Sounded like a great breakfast. But, what is this? Some powdery weirdness that…what? Is it moving?

Yes. the underside of the kale – the whole big plant, covered in aphids and their eggy-spawn.

aphid infestation

This is a stock image. My infestation was worse, of course! ;)

I had to destroy that plant and some of the spinach, too.

But not worry.

Little does the poor, unsuspecting state legislator sitting near Dave at the downtown government building cafeteria know that just inches away, in a little brown bag, are 1000 Ninja-Ladybugs. They are on their way to my garden to feast on aphids.  From Paulino’s.

ladybug eats aphid oh yes!

Let the games begin!

Thought-Collage Thursday // Riddles

Where on earth does the time go? It’s the middle of May!

5 minutes ago, it was May Day, and suddenly the month is halfway gone, school is about to be let out, graduation parties are happening in earnest and spring seems awfully late this year (a little snowstorm on Sunday and Monday???).

snow on mothers day

What do 30 kale seedlings, 14 tomato plants, a couple dozen pepper plants, zinnias, daisies, cauliflower and cabbage, 4 cubic feet of vermiculite, 9 cubic feet of peat moss and a bunch of bags of compost have in common?

mothers day snow message on picnic table

They are not in my garden, as they SHOULD be on Mother’s Day weekend because they are waiting for some sunny warm days to happen, you know, in a row! Do I seem bitter about the spring snow? Because I obviously am.

Where in the world are DP and Tara?

heading to paris

Paris. In France. Or maybe London, in England today? Not sure which. But they are somewhere 8 hours ahead of us.

the eiffel tower in paris

I am watching Kai while they are gone. He is a little bruiser and quite independent.  He is 16 months of power and speed. But when he runs to me with his little arms up, I scoop him close as fast as I can, before the moment passes.

Yesterday, I was cuddling him for his nap and I swear a blanket of deja vu swept over me and I felt like I was in my 20s again – a young, energetic mommy. It was a heady moment, so sweet.  And Dave and I still have our co-parenting rhythm, I have found – the gentle give and take and ins and outs of baby-chores: diapering, bathing, feeding, diapering again, playing cars on the floor. We were once top experts in our field, with so many babies in the 1980s!


But at about 1 am I woke up with aching back, neck and shoulders and realized, uh no. I’m not in my 20s anymore. I am a Nonna in my 50s. Ha! But Malakai’s darling squeals and trails of cheese crackers and Hot Wheels do take me back. Memories…

How is it possible to just so deeply love this many people I have known for 11 years or less?

It’s like – I couldn’t have imagined them and then, *poof,* here they are and I cannot fathom anything without them. I could ramble on about them all, I actually could. But suffice to say, Steph gave me these shots for Mother’s Day. And I just want to give them all a *kiss-kiss* from Nonna. grandkids 2014-May Mother's Day aa Tonight is Gavin’s last band concert of the year. It’s scheduled to be outside. Hope the rain holds back. He’ll be 11 soon, and officially a middle-schooler.

Here is the low down, left to right (above): Hunter (9 1/2); he is holding Eva (5 months tomorrow), she lives to smile with her whole heart and face; Then there is Averi (6); Gunivere (8 1/2) is holding Bailey (who is 1 and wants to run); Gemma May  (7 next week) got glasses recently; Amelie Belle (4); Malakai (16 months) making a getaway; and finally the one who started it all, Gavin (turning 11 in June).

grandkids 2014-2

The lovely and fair Guinivere, as soft and sweet, thoughtful and gentle as she looks (but also sharp and wry, with a sense of humor that comes out of nowhere) just became an official business woman. She has been sewing decorator pillows (by machine, then stuffing, then finishing by hand) for $3 each to raise money for a camping trip at the zoo.

Guini pillow

She worked really hard and sold lots more than she even needed to reach her goal and her mommy said she felt the pressure of deadline order filling. But she did it. And she did it well. I am so proud of her.

Which is worse: failing at something, or not even trying?

I think almost everyone would say that not trying would be so much worse than trying something and then failing at it. But maybe the question is really this, Which is worse: failing at something you had the courage to try, or feeling ashamed by others’ reactions when you fail at something?

Forget Hunger Games, the shame game is the most deadly in the world. Though we understand that failure is just experience in the making, a stepping stone to something really great, the heaviness of having shame heaped on when it happens keeps us from trying the things we were born to try. Shame says:

  • You did it wrong. You shouldn’t have tried.
  • You have now ruined it for everyone else in the universe.
  • I hope you’ve learned your lesson.

Shame is a liar.

Don’t you just wish we would call its’ bluff more often? I want to master the art of “the shrug,” the oh-well, I tried. I did my best. I love people who can take flying leaps, outrageously stumble, then tumble, skid on their knees into brick walls, get up, hobble away with a smile and say, “Ok – next time, I think I will..” Yes! Those kind of people amaze me.

Keep trying!

BTW-what the heck with the vermiculite?

I used to be able to buy course grade vermiculite for about $3 per cubic foot at a garden center in Westminster. They closed and I need a new supplier. Now I am paying more than $10 per cubic foot.

Vermiculite is magic, though. It makes up 1/3 of Mel’s suggested Square Foot Gardening soil mixture, which, when made to spec never has to be replaced in your garden. Various composts + peat moss + vermiculite = amazing garden!

mel bartholomew all new square foot gardening

As I understand it, vermiculite is made from mica and other minerals being heated to the point of “explosion,” puffing up like popcorn! It’s like tiny, rock-looking, little sponges that soak up moisture and keep it in the soil near the plants’ roots where it is needed. It also keeps the soil from getting hard and compacted.

I am creating more tomato space in the garden this year (of. course!) and I just had to pay more than $50 for 5 cubic feet of this stuff. I am willing to raid a vermiculite stash in the night, trash bags in hand, if anyone knows where I might find such a place?

#tbt Throw-back Thursday time again!

Since I am having memories of when our kids were little so strongly this week, well, I’ll share from that era. You know I always tells you the 1980s were a blur, as we added to the family in rapid-fire succession. Oh, they were sweet days. Big hair. Silly children. Songs, church, gerbils, bikes, face paint, kids clubs, walking to school and oh, so many hugs and kisses and love among us!

rocky and dessa august 1987

At the beginning of the movie, “While You Were Sleeping,” the Sandra Bullock character is recalling her childhood and they were depicting scenes from her hazy, muted memories and she says something like, “I just don’t remember it being so…orange.” haha. I feel somewhat the same!

Daddy & Baby napping

Baby Dessa napping with her handsome daddy. Summer 1983.

Jordan, Rocky and Stormie

Does it go without saying that I, like my mother before, would not be caught without lots of sailor-inspired outfits for my children. We even brought one to their little cousin, Jordan one year!

stormie 1

Stormie’s first birthday.

Stephanie on her dedication day

Getting Stephie ready for her dedication at church, summer 1982.

tara turning two

Tara’s 2nd birthday.

Rocky on his dedication day

Rocky’s dedication day. Fall 1984.

fall 1982 church directory

One of those church directory photos. They are always the worst! But still, October or November 1982. My little family in Kokomo.

Jeanie 1987

I was the picture of a pastor’s wife, I think. Pantyhose and dresses at almost all times! Fall 1987, when the kiddos were 1 1/2 – 8 years old.

Well, this was quite the mish-mash of memories and thoughts and garden frustrations. But that is what Thought-Collage Thursdays are all about.

Please let me know if you have the answers to the riddles of life that swirl in my head, and plague my existence…especially if your know where I can get that vermiculite! :)


The. End. **sniff**

end of summer tomatoes

I pulled the proverbial plug.  I gathered up, from their toasty little covering (Dave was heat-lamping them) the remaining 84 or so Beefsteak, Heirloom and Early Girl tomatoes (not to mention the couple hundred cherries) and threw the plants into the barrel to be hauled away today.  I carried in bunches of tomatillas (probably threw away 3 times more), a pot full of green beans, 5 or 6 zucchinis, and a few dozen assorted peppers – not including the Serranos – another couple dozen of those, which I will directly give to my son-in-law, Ryan – do not pass go, do not collect $200.  Those things are wicked hot! Out with them!

What?  It isn’t still summer?

end of summer beefsteaks

The size of a cereal bowl!

Poor, poor little garden.  The beefsteaks were shocked it wasn’t the very middle of summer, I can tell from their behemoth size.  They had no idea how protected they’d been.

My counter was already heavy-laden with ripening tomatoes at every stage.  Now, if I wanted, I could do Fried Green Tomatoes and even found this very interesting recipe on Pinterest this morning, as if some fellow pinner knew I might need it:

fried green tomatoes cherry

How perfectly appropriate!

I like them red, and juicy and tangy and tart and real so I tend not to go in to the fried-green thing and opt for sneaking a couple of apples into their midst to get some quick ripening.  But I am rather inspired to try {this recipe} based on that image alone!

The kale and onions and garlic chives and Chinese Cabbage are still puttering along, with chamomile and some potted annuals, but for the most part, I pulled the incredible-fruitful plants out of the earth and ended a very nice summer garden in anticipation of a cold-turn, possible rain turning to {SNOW} flurries…tonight.  Ugh.

end of summer tomato assortment

Thank-you, garden, for a lovely, long and sweet summer.  Thank-you for still trying into the fall.  And God bless you for the lovely bounty I shall still enjoy for the next few days, maybe weeks.  So perfectly delicious.

“It’s the laughter we will remember, whenever we remember the way we were…”

I will always remember you, Garden 2013.  I really will.

The devil in the garden

He comes to kill, steal and destroy…and he is green ~ for at least part of his life cycle.

The hornworm.  I have told you about him.  He can chew through a whole tomato plant in 24 hours flat, engorged and gross, 3-4″ of huffing and puffing, swollen and green slimy-ness from the leaves he has munched through, poop piles littering his path below him as he climbs ever upward, destroying the tomato.


No leaves on the plant = no tomatoes.  We HATE the tomato hornworm.

But a lot of gullible people think the moth that deposits the larvae into garden soil around your plants – which becomes the hornworm caterpillar is so cute.

It is all caused by the sphinx moth/hawk moth

But – people think it is a hummingbird.  Because it is large, almost the size of a hummingbird.  It has interesting coloration and design, not at all bland-blah like the gray-powdery june moth that sweeps through here from Nebraska in sometimes plague-like proportions.  This moth flies sort of upright like the bird and has this feathery looking tuft of something or another and is really quite huge and monstrous.  This moth is the enemy of the tomato and other garden goodies.  the ENEMY!


In my efforts to truly be organic and not use bug killers in my garden, this year I have taken to carrying a fly-swatter with me to put the smack-down on moths which seek to lay eggs in my sweat-composted soil.  ‘Tis better, I do think, to save my crops and eat the food I have determined to grow than to let the bugs have it and a little swat and down is better than spraying chemicals or poison sprinkling granules.  I admit I may look a little crazy out there, swinging a plastic aparatus at a flighty moth – but I give it a go and some days have success.

But dang the “hummingbird moths.” A kick scan through Facebook and Instagram and 82% of everyone I know is posting a picture of it and celebrating it, thinking it is a hummingbird!  People think they are cute!

The other day, while I was armed and ready for battle as 4 of them were sucking juice from my Hibiscus,  I caught some eyes peering out the kitchen window from a house across the way.   I was swinging away.  I sheepishly smiled and waved wondering if she thought I was totally crazy?

A little later Dave happened upon a conversation about all the beautiful little “hummingbirds” in the neighborhood, resistant to the suggestion that they were moths.  When he told me, we realized –  someone in my neighborhood now thinks I beat the crap out of hummingbirds with a fly-swatter.  The word is spreading.

Great.  Just great.

sphinx moth = hawk moth = hummingbird moth = heavy-bodied, strong flying insects = from full-grown hornworm larvae = gross = evil = the devil in my garden = yes I kill them if I can.



[the LORD] will fill your barns with grain,

and your vats will overflow with good wine.

Proverbs 3.9-10

I haven’t gone out to harvest today’s garden goodies yet.  But this is already in my “tomato bowl” this morning.  The bowl is 18″ diameter, 6″ deep.  And full – 4 types of tomatoes.

harvest tomatoes

For a few months, gardening has been tending to, working, weeding, watering, feeding, watching over with hope and expectancy.

Then suddenly…

He who cultivates his land will have plenty of bread…

Proverbs 28.19a

I can hardly get used to this heavy-with-harvest time.  I go out to work a little, water a bit and come in with so much reward, my arms and shirt filled with garden goodies of all kinds – enough to enjoy and share!  And I am still overwhelmed by these daily benefits (loaded with them!), astonished with joy over finding new mercies among the leaves, sort of amazed and giggling at the miracle of it: Look what God has done!  I apologize in advance – I cannot help myself.  I throw a load on the counter and whip out the iPhone. *snap!

harvest chiles

Dave caught me scrolling through my phone’s camera roll and smiling.  Because this is the time I was waiting for {{nearly breathless, quietly~quietly hoping}}, and am yet so happily dazzled over: harvest time!  I knew down deep it was coming {hoped-against-hope it would}, but I have still been captured by surprise!

And I will restore for you the years that the locust has eaten—the hopping locust, the stripping locust, and the crawling locust…

And you shall eat in plenty and be satisfied and praise the name of the Lord, your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you. And My people shall never be put to shame.

Joel 2.25-26

harvest peppers

It takes all my strength not to plaster all 37 images I have taken of my veggies in the last week right here on this blog.  Yesterday, as I was juggling red, juicy tomatoes and heavy, dark green cucumbers with assorted peppers and just-right zucchini with straightneck squash to bring them into the house, it was perhaps the third load, as the sun was shining on me and the purple petunias were cheering me on in their perfumed and wavy way, I heard a voice (in my spirit, not literally)  narrating my story from heaven ~

“The seeds were buried in hot,  black soil on a spring day by faith.  Waiting, not always patiently, but certainly with expectancy…waiting…Then one day, the harvest became so plentiful she could barely keep up ~ armfuls of plenty, abundance filling every nook, every cranny.  The time of abundance had come.  At last”

Yes, I know I am a little over-the-top about gardening, but don’t you also find it incredibly stunning that God allows us to join Him in creating a profusion of life-giving food?  Don’t you think it is an honor to get to tend to these miraculous growing things and then He just gives them to us?!  I am a humbled recipient of the summer yield, a wealth of delicious, seed-bearing, life-giving, nutritious, lovely sustenance for my body and soul – this from a seed I watched die in the soil.  Supernatural provision, people!

I am intoxicated with gratefulness for the Creator.  I am.

Do not be deceived…A man reaps what he sows…Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6.7-9 NIV

A little crazy

Have I gone a little crazy with the sweet-potato vine?

Oh I have.  You know, I really think they are just so sublime.

They are green and they are bright and they are full and they cascade~

What a shame to eat the root when I think of all the leaves they’ve made.

I have them here, I have them there, I have planted every possible pot

With springy-green potatoes’ sweet

I love these vines.  I think they’re neat!


From purple petunias in pots on the patio to the wildflower borders edging the yard, I tucked sweet-potato vines into every possible space!


The pot on the left was once full of pansies and begonias, shaded by the tree.  They are still in there, now just shaded by the vines.

Yes, that’s right.  Not only have I planted cascading sweet potato vines, I have planted them everywhere.  I have the burgundy version, too, but I really love the bright spring-green version.  They sort of outshine the flowers.  And I love them so much they make me write silly things.  But they are taking over the whole potted world in my universe.


On the right you are getting a bonus peek of the sweet banana peppers, but above, cascading from a higher pot: you guessed it!  Sweet potato vines.


In the photo above on the right, behind the vines, is a 5-gallon Terra Cotta planter filled with snapdragons and spikes, stock and petunias, celosia and carnation.  But they are certainly being crowded by the vines.  This is a major wasp-mafia hide-out.  Boo.


The burgundy version is on the left.  It is doing very well, too.  On the right, you can see that despite the overabundance I already have, I still tucked in a young plant just recently.  This is how they start!

A bonus photo:

Miss Zinnia asked if she might say hello to my readers.

“Gladly, my pleasure,” I assured her.

Teasingly she chided, “Do you work for Chick-Fil-A now?”

“They do not own ‘my pleasure,'” I smiled back.

So hello from Hot-Pink Zinnia, making my summer sweeter.


The rush

Busy.  No stop-and-smell-the-roses time.  Activity swirling.  Good things.  Fun things.  Flurries of excitement.  Outbursts of thankfulness.  But, battles, too.  Violence against my heart by the enemy of my soul.  Picking up what got shattered, fully aware I possess nothing that can fix it.  Guarding the heart, o, guarding the heart.  Lord, cover me, here, when so much is at stake, when despair comes near.  Cover me.

One quick trip to the garden after a night rain.  I pull a weed that has dared to become a squatter, surely believing I won’t be around anytime soon.

Breaking the surface releases instant joy.  I smell earth.  I inhale the black, rich scent of the slightly moist soil and recklessly plunge my hand into that from whence I came.  I breathe it deeply for a second and linger for one more, my eyes closed with the sun warming the top of my very being.  I have to leave.  I have a meeting. The urgency that is propelling me, it suddenly becomes clear, will fade away.  The time I spend with my Life in the garden must increase.  I have found my place.  Deep breath.

I am merely dust.  I know my kind.  It is where I belong.

google image  But it looks a lot like what happened yesterday.

Note to self:  The garden.  Again.  Where He always meets me.  How could I forget?

Lucky One

A little first-day-of-summer gardening with the Kelley kids yesterday yielded a great surprise:

Gavin has his first tomato!

He was pretty excited to have beat me.  I only have 4 tomato plants this year and he has 3, but he got the first tomato out of the deal, a tiny, green sphere getting ready to turn into a gorgeous red tomato.  Yum.  We were so happy.

Then, to Gavin’s great excitement, we noticed he also had a pepper on his little sweet pepper plant.  Glory be! 

“I’m the luckiest boy in the world!” he told us.

Be still, my melting, proud, love-filled, gooey-sweet, this-kid-is-amazing heart.  He gets the gardener in me because the same heart beats in him, too.  Gavin and I were born to be sustainable-living-backyard-farmers.  I am the luckiest Nonna in the world!

If you could see his eyes (I stink at photography), you’d know they were happy!

My latest movie project

Hunter is at the most hilarious stage.  He likes to make me laugh and will pose for pictures for me.  I caught a few before he jumped in the pool recently.  He loves pulling out his Kung Foo Panda moves.  I laugh every. single. time.