Pulling Weeds

Feeling a bit energetic today, I went for a short walk outside.  Of course my first stop was our garden.  Hubby has taken over almost all of the gardening.  I love it, but my knees don’t.  Funny, for the last 5 years I have don’t all the gardening pretty much by myself with the help of some Grandies now and then.  Hubby wasn’t able, so I did the best I could, loving every minute of it especially when grandkids were in the garden with me.  Now my body yells if I thing garden, but Hubby has retired and is now back to gardening all the time!  Hmmmm, sounds a bit like teamwork to me.  But that is a rabbit trail and I need to get back to the main path of my thoughts.

The garden looks great, and I was able to plant a few plants that somehow hadn’t made their way to their permanent home yet. That felt good to my soul; gardeners will know exactly what I mean.  Then I came back to the house briefly to get the fresh nectar for our hummingbirds.  They are such a pleasure to watch that I try hard to make sure their feeder is filled every few days.  Walking back outside, I strolled to the large flower bed planted right outside the living room window.  It probably looks like a strange location to passersby, but it is perfect placement for us to watch the birds, butterflies and bunnies that visit.  I had planted petunias, geraniums, dahlias, marigolds, and a host of other flowers earlier this year.  I took great care to notice which area would get shade and which would get full sun, placing the flowers carefully.  Then I put some shepherd’s hooks with finch feeders and cardinal feeders, along with my hummingbird feeder- spaced just so among the flowers.  Two small bird baths were added, and the fairy garden that the Grandies have been working on was moved close to the hummingbirds.  Every time I looked at that flower bed, I had to smile and reflect on the loving God that made such a riot of color possible.

This morning, however, something didn’t look quite right.  We have had a few bad storms recently and I hadn’t actually been in the flower bed for a week or so.  The plants that had been so beautiful were drooping and fading.  The growth wasn’t what I expected, especially from the petunias which can tend to take over.  Hmmmm, what to do, what to do?  You know, just because I love gardening doesn’t mean I have a green thumb.  And then it happened, standing right there between the petunias and the purply flowers (whatever they are called).  God gently reminded me of a lesson or two He had taught me before and now needed to remind me.  Flower beds, like our faith and our prayer life, need attention.  It isn’t enough to plant the seed and let it go. The seeds and plants need to be nurtured.  They need to be inspected for leaves and flowers that are no longer productive.  My son would say they need to be “deadheaded” and have a haircut now and then. Anything that is hindering them from growth, like weeds, needs to be removed. They need a bit of food now and then to keep them healthy.

Our faith and our prayer life need to be exercised and nurtured.  It isn’t enough to say I have faith and then sit down and dwell on that fact.  It isn’t enough to pray a quick prayer now and then when I remember it.  We need to be intentional in our walk with God.  Speaking to me now, but you can listen if you want, I need to see what in my life is keeping my faith from growing.  Some things aren’t bad in and of themselves, but if they take away from  God’s plan for me, then they are bad for me. What in my life is hindering my prayers from being more regular, deeper, more intentional?  If I’m not growing, then I’m standing still, which is the same as going backwards.  Is busyness keeping me from time in the Word?  Are other interests taking up too much of my time, keeping me from putting my faith into action?

Well, I thank God for the nudges and reminders He gives us.  I believe it is time for me to get out my spiritual food and action plan (Bible) and see what else God has to say to me today.  It isn’t always comfortable when God has to dig around in my heart, especially when He has to use His pruning shears, but it is necessary as He makes me into the beautifully blooming, productive  and growing Child of God He wants me to become.  Something to think about, in a quiet moment.

Turning to gaze out the window one more time before I get busy reading God’s Word and pulling some spiritual weeds, I see the hummingbird perched and looking right at me.  It seems he might be smiling.  And you know, I’m convinced the flowers look just a wee bit brighter already.

Death of a Garden

It is hard to accept the fact that my gardening time might be over.

This morning I woke up at 3:15 a.m. thinking it surely must be time to get up.  It wasn’t.  I laid there for a while, tossed and turned for a while, checked in case anyone else who couldn’t sleep had sent me a message.  My tummy grumbled that it was hungry but I tried to ignore it completely. Finally I saw the fingers of dawn tap on my window.  Dressing hurriedly I walked outside thinking I could put in some major garden time.  We’ve had tons of rain, so it pulling weeds should be a snap.  My feet aren’t working so well today, but I thought a short time in the soft soil shouldn’t hurt too badly.

A few feet from the garden I stopped in dismay.  Weeds were clearly the healthiest plant growing. Because of the weather it has been a few days since I had been in my quiet spot.  Extreme heat and humidity kept me out of the garden most of the days, and rain kept me out most of the mornings. This was a disaster!  I felt so overwhelmingly…well…overwhelmed!  If the ground hadn’t been so damp and standing up from a flat position so difficult, I would have sat down in the midst of the garden and cried.  I’m not permitted to use a tiller, and the cultivator attachment hasn’t been replaced on my wheel hoe yet, so I knew the only way those weeds would leave my garden is by one tug at a time.  I just couldn’t face it.  In all likelihood, this will be my last garden of any size which already saddens me.  Now this.  After a feeble attempt at pulling the weeds in my little patch of ornamental corn, I gave up.  It seemed to me the garden had died…and it wasn’t even July yet.

Looking around, I decided to at least pick the zucchini.  It was a new kind for me to grow…golden zucchini.  Now I have heard people say don’t plant too much zucchini or you will have so much you can’t give it away.  Hah!  My first year growing zucchini i planted 2-4 plants and had 1 zucchini.  No, that is not a misprint.  1 zucchini. Really. The next year I did a bit better, but still had a very small crop.  This year I planted only golden zucchini- 4 plants.  Wading through the weeds I checked my plants and behold I had 8 zucchini with many more that will be ready in a few days.  Plucking them from the vines, I looked once more around my garden and said a silent goodbye.

Trudging back to the house, I carefully washed the zucchini and thought about what I should do with them.  While I was thinking I decided to clean out the fridge and start some “refrigerator soup” meaning I take any appropriate leftovers and make a vegetable soup.  My starter for the soup is a container from the freezer that I put leftover veggies in when we clean up after dinner.  You know, that tablespoon of peas that you hate to throw away but it is too small an amount for another meal.  Then I found some cabbage in the fridge along with a few other tidbits.  I even found a small container of homemade chili in the freezer…in it went.  While the soup simmered, I pulled out a recipe for zucchini pie someone had given me at church camp last year.  I still hadn’t tried it and figured today is as good a day as any.  While the zucchini was simmering to get tender, I pulled out my bread maker.  It hadn’t seen the light of day in a while!  Soon I had zucchini bread in the machine and it started to do its thing.  There was just a little shredded zucchini left, so naturally it went into the soup.  By now the chopped zucchini was tender and I could finish assembling my pie.  My husband came through the kitchen and saw the bowl of pie filling.  “Hey, that looks good,” he said with a gleam in his eye.  Don’t you DARE tell him it is zucchini.  It looks like apple chunks. That was a few hours ago.

Now I am sitting here pleasantly full.  Zucchini bread is smelling pretty good. The pie is out of the oven.  The soup has finished simmering so of course it had to be tasted.  And while I was cleaning the fridge…oops, I mean while I was making refrigerator soup, I found a small package of sausage links with a few silver dollar pancakes in the freezer left over from a grandkids sleepover.  So I browned the sausage, warmed the pancakes and put some of the leftover zucchini pie filling over the top.  It was SO tasty.  I can’t wait to taste the pie.

Now that I have had a bit of exercise…I mean a few minutes weeding, a load of laundry, making soup, pie and bread all by 8 a.m. is definitely exercise…and my tummy is pleasantly full, I think it is time for a nap.  I’m going to pull the curtains tightly closed, snuggle in my bed, and peacefully dream about next year’s garden.

Peace Disrupted!!!

This morning I eagerly went out to my garden EARLY in the day.  It had been at least a week since I had been able to find time to visit what has been through the years a place of peace for me. As I walked through the garden with the dirt sifting though my shoes and probably between my toes I thought of a blog post I read recently.  Last week I had a visitor to my blog which led me in turn to discover their blog.  You really need to check out Stuart’s writings at http://www.storyshucker.wordpress.com because I know you will enjoy your visit.  Anyway, Stuart is another person who loves dirt.  Not the nasty negative dirt some people like to spread, but the good clean dirt that God gave us to enjoy and grow things in while we dwell on our blessings.  From that thought I went on to prepare my heart to pray and plant. By 6 a.m. I was happily checking progress on my beans.  Little did I know that my peace was about to be disrupted!

There are some fun things I needed to plant so my grandchildren can explore the fun in the garden…things like popcorn and tiny pumpkins.  This morning I wanted to plant another row of green beans and also some kidney beans. Rows made, I reached in my pocket and pulled out my seeds. “Father…” I started my praying as I dropped the seeds in the row.  “I sure do thank you for my garden and allowing me another year to enjoy watching things grow.  I can’t wait until my grandkids see these tiny pumpkins growing.  And thanks for a quiet peaceful place to pray and reflect on all You have created.”  Suddenly my peace was shattered!

lowflying plane

A low flying plane zoomed over my head as it prepared to spray the nearby field.  Or perhaps the pilot was practicing making rows by using the wheels of his plane certainly he was flying low enough.  (The picture is not showing the lowest point of flight. The fence blocked that picture. And on the return trip the plane flew much closer to my garden.) I tried to ignore the noise and the fact that my hair was about to become tangled in the wheels of an airplane.  Once more I bent to drop those beans into their row.  Drop, drop, drop-step.  Drop, drop, drop-step.  Slowly the 2 short rows were planted, but I didn’t get much praying done.  The drone of the plane was overpowering.  Not only that, but the plane was literally so low I could tell the color helmet the pilot was wearing, and if my eyes had only been a bit better and my glasses not so dusty, I think I could have seen if he (or she) still had the tags hanging on their outfit.  I could easily count the lights on the sides of the plane and see the little rim around each light.  And yes, the pilot turned their head to glance at my garden.

Sorry folks, but that is too close for me.  Once my beans were covered, I scurried into the house.  I really did scurry.  You could see my scurry prints in the dew that was still on the grass.  Now how does all that relate to my praying?  Well, sometimes the distractions of this world intrude on our time with God.  The distractions aren’t necessarily wrong things. The pilot of this plane was only doing their job.  Not a bad thing in and of itself, but to me, it was a distraction.  I couldn’t focus on what I needed to do at the time, which was to pray.  The plane didn’t STOP me from praying, but with my peace shattered, I wasn’t praying as fervently as I wanted, but this was something I could change.  My praying location changed, if you will.  Now sitting on my rocker, peace is restored.  While I love praying in my garden, I can certainly pray just as much from my rocker.

The plane is still outside, but the droning is now similar to that of a large bumblebee, something I can ignore.  And when my initial prayers are finished, I may just wipe the dust from my glasses and go back out and see if I can determine the color of the pilots eyes.