Hidden Fruit

See all my sweet peas? No? I don’t see them either. But they are there. Right after I took this picture, I picked 40 and left 27 to grow. They are there.

A few are right there on the end of the little branch, proudly declaring themselves, but most of them hide behind stems and leaves, worried about the bright sun and marauding birds, too timid and embarrassed to expose themselves.

But there is a trick to get this fruit to show. Gently shake the plant. The sweet peas react differently to the shaking than the leaves and stems do. They sway differently. Your eye, if you are looking, sees the difference at once.

The Holy Spirit, bearing His fruit in our lives, allows us to react differently as well. When God gently shakes our world, our reactions differ from those of the non-believers around us.  

Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:11-12.

Perhaps our world just needs a little shaking for our fruit to show up.

I must admit I would rather the shaking not be necessary. I would rather the fruit be obvious. Oddly enough, even then, it is sometimes hard to see.

Sometimes I don’t see the fruit that is right in front of my eyes. Sometimes I don’t see my keys sitting on the table, or the mayo in the fridge. What is it that makes me not see the thing right in front of my eyes? Is my mind preoccupied with other thoughts? Am I so stressed about looking for it that I’m temporarily blinded? Am I running some visual tape from the past instead of actually looking at the present view? Do I do this with issues far more important than mayo or keys or peas?

You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive. For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn – and I would heal them. Matthew 13:14-15, Also Acts 28:26, Isaiah 6:10, Jeremiah 5:21, Ezekiel 12:2.

Somehow, we can tell when we are looking and actually seeing. We can tell when others are actually seeing us; we can sense it when we are talking to them. I can only imagine what it must have felt like to have Jesus concentrate his gaze on you. Whether you were a rich young ruler (Mark 10:21), a tax collector (Luke 19:5), a fisherman (Matthew 4:18), or a denying disciple (Luke 22:61), when Jesus looked at you, when Jesus saw you, he saw what was really there. Not blinded by outward appearances, societal norms, or preconceived notions, Jesus looked and saw.

Jesus can see the fruit that the Holy Spirit is growing in our lives. God can give us this type of sight as well. We can see God around us; we can see the fruit in others; we can see the fruit in ourselves.

So have no fear; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I have said to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered proclaim from the rooftops. Matthew 10:26-27.

These verses aren’t talking about the shameful things we try to hide; these verses are talking about the fruit that God is bearing in our lives, the tender moments when He heals our pain and takes our hand. When God is bearing fruit in your life, some of it will be obvious, but some may hide, camouflaged by our daily lives. So don’t worry when God shakes your life a little; He’s just making His fruit obvious to the world.


First Fruits

The sweet peas are in! What a cause for celebration!

While the rest of my garden plants are establishing their roots and bringing forth new leaves, these beautiful plants are filling my basket with abundance.

These are the first fruits of my garden.

You shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground from the land that God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place that the Lord your God will choose. Then you, along with the Levites and the aliens who reside among you, shall celebrate with all the bounty that the Lord your God has given to you and your house. Deuteronomy 26: 2,11

Moses established an annual celebration for the people of God to thank the Lord for His provision and celebrate with those who couldn’t provide for themselves (The Levites and aliens had no land and so no crops). I shared mine with some Christian women with no gardens, and our church staff (modern day Levites).

I love that my peas ripen during the period the Jews celebrate as the Festival of Weeks, the 7 weeks between Passover and Pentecost. When exactly one makes the first fruit offering during this period is unclear. Many have it occur on the first day of the week after Passover – that would be Easter Sunday.

But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. I Corinthians 15:20

But one could make their first fruits offering any time during the seven weeks, even as late as Pentecost, when Jews celebrated the gift of the Law in addition to the gift of fruit. Pentecost, when God gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit as well.

We ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:23

So Christ is the first fruit, and we who abide in Him are also first fruits. What a cause for celebration! The Lord our God has certainly provided all that we need!

Since I can’t share my sweet peas with you online, I want to share something else. God provides for us and asks that we share His provision with others. That certainly refers to His physical provision, but I think it also refers to His spiritual provision. We are to tell our stories.

What a Wonderful God

I am a woman, come down from the mountain to tell my story, a story of the majesty and wonder of God. How glorious it is on the mountain! Surrounded by endless sky, the stars seem close enough to touch. Pure crisp air fills the lungs; and the joy of God’s presences fills my soul. He takes my hand and leads me.

               What a wonderful God He is, to bring me to this place, to show me His glory, to call me by name. What a wonderful God!

I am a woman, come up from the pit to tell you my story, a story of the grace and mercy of God. How gentle He is with my pain, how tender He is as I weep from my heart. He comforts me as my guilt and doubt and fear shred me to pieces. His presence heals my wounds. He takes my hand and leads me.

               What a wonderful God He is, to bring me out of this place, to show me His gracious love, to call me by name. What a wonderful God!

I am a woman, come across the plain to tell my story, a story of the support and providence of God. He provides fresh water and rest along the way. He keeps me on the path and carries my load. Troubled by hidden rocks, encouraged by fragrant flowers, wearied by the endless vistas, He whispers, “There is better ahead.” He takes my hand and leads me.

               What a wonderful God He is, to walk with me through this place, to show me His faithfulness, to call me by name. What a wonderful God!

Happy Pentecost, you first fruits of the Spirit! I am grateful for you!


A kink in the Hose

It seemed like the perfect day. I could feel the warm sun on my face and the gentle breeze ruffling through my hair. The hedge row was in bloom, sending fragrant scents across the yard. My sweet peas were thriving; my summer plants were growing; moderate temperatures encouraged me to spend the time outside watering my plants by hand.

Then suddenly, no water came through the hose. I was standing there, holding the hose, pressing the handle, but nothing was happening. I turn and look at the hose, stretched out on the ground. Sure enough, it has twisted, creating a kink and blocking the flow of water. Never once did I think that there was no water to be had. The water was there; a kink in the hose was blocking it.

Why, then, when my prayers seem unanswered and my cries seem to fall on deaf ears, do I presume God has turned away and is not listening? Instead of thinking that God has stopped the flow of water, shouldn’t I first look for the blockage on my end?

You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:3

For the past few weeks, every time I settle into a prayer time, I remember a particular person and think I should reach out to her. For some reason even I can’t explain, I have yet to do so. So this morning, before I prayed, I wrote them a note and put it in the mailbox. It seems pointless to pray for God’s direction when I do not follow the instructions He does give me. Perhaps this small act of obedience will unblock the hose and allow the Spirit a larger presence in my life.

So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24

God hears every prayer. God stands ready to pour out His presence into our lives. While God can block the flow of water to accomplish His end (think Moses), these seem to be rare occurrences. It seems more likely that we are blocking the flow; we have twisted and constricted ourselves, preventing God from flowing through us.

Consider too that what we ask may be outside God’s plan. God has a much bigger picture than we do; He sees all people at all times in all places. He sees the unseen battles waging amongst us. Would not each of us have prayed that Jesus be spared His misery at the hands of the Roman soldiers? Did not even Jesus pray this? But there was more at stake than Jesus’ health and comfort. Prayer is not about getting God to do what we want Him to do; prayer is not about getting God to do our will.

Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet not what I want, but what you want. Mark 14:36

I shake the hose. When that doesn’t work, I find the twisted spot in the hose and untwist it. I stop wasting time holding a blocked hose and correct the situation so the water will flow. How easy that seems in the garden; how sometimes difficult that seems in my prayer life.

The water flows freely now. The plants are getting their life-giving water. I love to see the blossoms and the fruit on my sweet pea plants. The picture above is of the first blooms on my plants. The sideways growing plants found their way toward the sun and bloomed first, before their fellow plants growing closer together. God is amazing, is He not?

Hopefully, the water is flowing freely in your life. If not, perhaps take a moment today to review your situation and untwist the hose.


Other’s Wisdom

Gardening can be a humbling experience. I get excited about trying new things, but usually fail at them. Humbling, because, how hard can gardening be? People have been doing it for thousands of years. For millennia, your gardening skills dictated your ability to survive. I fear I wouldn’t have done well!

This year I tried to start a few flowers indoors to transplant into the garden later. Thankfully, I am not trying to start all my plants from seed indoors; the results have been less than stellar.

Fortunately, I do not have to begin with a seed for most of my garden. There are professional gardeners who are considerably better at growing plants than I am. I can rely on their expertise to get the plant off to a healthy start. I can transplant it into my garden and care for it until it matures. For those of us who do not have the time, patience, skills or aptitude to grow everything from scratch, these seedlings are a wonderful gift.

I feel much the same about some Christian writers. What a gift! I do not have to struggle to answer every question by myself. I can rely on their expertise.

Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 1:13

As I plant one tomato plant, I give thanks for Billy Graham, C.S. Lewis, and Charles Stanley, who started my growth. With the second, I give thanks for John Stott and Lee Strobel, who strengthened my faith with sound reasoning. With the third, I thank God for Henri Nouwen and Thomas Merton, who taught me quiet. With each successive plant, I thank the Lord for Martin Luther, John Calvin, St. Augustine, Karl Barth, N.T. Wright, these tremendous people of faith who have given me such a head start on my faith journey.

As I lower my cucumber seedlings into the ground, I think of the lessons of faith under fire taught by Richard Wurmbrand, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Bob Fu, Dan Bauman, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Could these hardy cucumbers withstand such persecution? Could I?

With the peppers, I give thanks for the Bible translators and Bible teachers; people like Eugene Peterson, Priscilla Shirer, Max Lucado, Ann Voskamp, and all those who have brought the Word to my living room.

These gifted thinkers, writers, and teachers have provided me with starter plants, seedlings for my garden. What a wonderful thing it is that God can plant their thoughts in my life and let them grow.

From the bed where it was planted, it was transplanted to good soil by abundant waters, so that it might produce branches and bear fruit and become a noble vine. Ezekiel 17:8

Now these plants are my responsibility. God has planted them in my garden. I need to ensure they have what they need – good soil, abundant water, protected space to grow.

As wonderful as these plants are, and so very much better than my attempts at growing from seed, it is not enough to stick them in the ground and ignore them. I need to let them take root and grow. Plants grow in two directions; unseen, they search out every hidden place underground; above ground, they spread their branches and produce fruit. I need to let the wisdom of those who have gone before do the same. I need to let the Word of God do the same.

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. 2 Timothy 3:15

Today, I am grateful for everyone whose skill and expertise have grown these plants, transported these plants, and made these plants available to me. I am grateful that my garden stands a better chance of being successful because I have started with healthy plants. Let’s get growing!


Happy Place

The sweet peas are back in their happy place! Nick and I always planted the sweet peas at the far left end of the garden. The last few years of his life, we didn’t plant them, because we weren’t here in May to harvest them. After his death, I condensed the garden and planted them at the far right end. The creek rose three feet that year, taking most of the plants with it. Last year I moved them out of flood threat, but not to their original location. Crop rotation, you know. They didn’t like that space. This year they are back in their happy place!

What joy it brings me to see them thriving! It has been several years since I have had any sweet peas to harvest, but I am feeling very optimistic about this year!

We all know that we are to bloom where we are planted, make the best of an unpleasant situation, and use every situation as an opportunity to glorify God, but let’s admit it. Most of us have a happy place, a place where growth seems easy and life is good and praise leaps to our lips without effort.

As much as it is in our ability to do so, I think we should put ourselves in our happy place. If hiking in the woods makes you happy, leave the laundry for later and take a walk. If holding that baby fills you with joy, respond to your emails later. If a walk on the beach brings you closer to God, figure out a way to get there.

But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need for only one thing.” Luke 10:41

I have found great joy writing these posts. Actually, I have found great joy thinking about what I am writing in these posts. I have found joy thinking about God and specifically about my relationship with God, my garden, if you will. Thinking about and writing these posts has become a happy place, where I let the other things fade away. There’s many I have written which I may never post, but they are bearing fruit in my life even so.

Do you have a happy place? A place where you feel closer to God, a time when the cares of the world fade in the background and communion with God seems easier? Perhaps it is time with a beloved friend, or quiet time with your spouse. Perhaps just looking at a body of water puts everything in perspective, as it does for me. Perhaps it is a steady jog on a well-known path.

God has filled the earth with happy places for His creation. The sweet peas were not happy in the area where I usually grow cucumbers, nor in the area where I normally grow peppers. They have their own happy place, at the far left end of the garden. The actual place is not nearly as important as the fact that it is where we meet God, commune with Him, worship Him.

Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. … True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. John 4:21,23

Sometimes gardening is just such a happy place. Admittedly, sometimes it is a place of hard work, struggle, and frustration. Perhaps there is a lesson here as well. Many of our happy places are not always happy. It takes effort to hike; sometimes the baby screams; sand can be hard to walk in; the words don’t come; friends and spouses argue; storms obscure your view of the water; muscles cramp when you jog. But when I see those glorious sweet peas, somehow, the effort and failures fade into the background.

I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6

May you, like my sweet peas, find your happy place.



The garden is ready for its plants.. We had a wonderful time getting it ready. My daughter, son-in-law, and grandbabies, along with my ever helpful brother-in-law, joined me in preparing the space. We took turns caring for the babies as we tilled and raked the garden. We set up a watering system with multiple soaker hoses in addition to the hose for hand watering. We laid down weed barrier cloth and covered it with mulch, finishing the space with landscape timbers. It was an all-afternoon affair. And indescribably easier than trying to do all that by myself!

The sky was cloudless, and the sun was warm. We put a canvas and an umbrella in the yard for the babies, while the adults reveled in the April sunshine and cooling breeze. And between the four adults (the babies didn’t help much!), we got a lot done. It was not all manual labor, although much of it was. I needed to determine what I was planting, where, and how much space it would need. It took three of us to figure out the soaker hose system and get it laid out along the garden. The give and take, the sharing of tasks, the planning and doing – it was like a garden in bloom!

Not only was it a lovely afternoon, but now my garden is ready for the summer plants.

I am excited by my waiting garden; there is a joy in the anticipation of what is coming. My husband used to say that the anticipation of an event was every bit as enjoyable as the actual event: birthday, holiday, vacation.

Anticipation is born of a forward-focus; I am living in the here and now, in April, but I am thinking about and planning for July and September.

I consider that the sufferings of the present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18

Paul was living in a cell in Rome, but he was thinking about and planning for heaven.

Unlike heaven, of course, with my garden, there is the chance that my anticipation will lead to disappointment instead of fruition. But that is hard to think about as I survey my prepared garden. That space is ready for carrot seeds, tomato plants and cucumber vines.

I go to the garden center and peruse all the options, like a kid in a candy store! Each plant holds such promise. Each plant represents the work of others to get the plants to this point.

It reminds of going to the “Christian Literature” section of a bookstore; so many options!

I know I want indeterminate tomato plants; Lord, guide me to the ones that are best for my garden, my situation, my yard. It’s so exciting to hold this young plant and think about all the possibilities it holds.

God has gifted me with an intrinsic joy in doing something now that will bear fruit only later. Matthew Sleeth, in Reforesting Faith, says this is one beauty of planting a tree; you are planting it for future generations. My garden plants will reach fruition much sooner than a tree, but it is not immediate. I am engaging in an act of faith, taking action now in anticipatory joy of future results.

So the garden is ready. Any day now, the danger of frost will pass, and the seeds and plants can go in the ground.

Be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight. Isaiah 65:18

I am grateful that I had the time to prepare the garden. I am especially grateful that God made what would have been a chore for me into an enjoyable time with family.

What a blessing that God is creating something in this world, in our lives. What joy there is in anticipating His new world.

The one who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. Revelations 22:20



A few of my sweet pea plants are growing sideways instead of upward. They should grab onto the supports and get taller. But they are not.

Did the weed cloth alter their growth? Were the supports not close enough? Were there not enough other plants nearby to force them upright? Why did they miss the nearby support and reach across the garden to the far one? Is this an unhealthy situation or just a different one? Is there someone or something to blame for this situation, and if so, is it me?

His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” John 9:2

I gently encourage the plants to grab hold of a support and grow upward, but if I treat them too roughly, the fragile plants will break and die. It appears some of them have found other plants and together they are growing upward. Perhaps these plants need the additional exposure to sunlight from growing sideways, exposure they wouldn’t receive if they were growing with all the others.

The question becomes, can they still produce lying on the ground? If they can’t produce good fruit without growing as recommended, what is my response? Do I force them to conform to the support, even at the risk of damage? Do I trust they will find their own way to grow toward the sun? If the plant can successfully produce from its prone position, shouldn’t I encourage it to do so?

I notice that the young plants often grab onto each other instead of onto the sturdier supports I have provided. As long as some of them are clinging onto the supports, the entire crowd seems to be encouraged upward. Many find their own attachments to the supports in time. But if the young plants attach themselves to an unsupported plant, the entire bundle often falls to the ground. Gently, gently I encourage the plants to attach to the provided supports. I know they want to grow toward the sun; sometimes they just don’t know the way.

I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

I am going to continue to water, talk to and love on my wayward sweet peas. I am going to provide supports for them at every turn, encouraging them to grab hold. I will encourage them to grow, but I will not, cannot, force them to grow in the manner I think may be best. They are growing; they are living, breathing plants – a gift from God. God may see fit to produce fruit in them where they lie. God may yet use them, like the blind man mentioned in John 9, to reveal God’s works. They may yet find their way to climb the supports and reach for the sun.

It may take a while. It may take a lifetime. And it could be me and not the sweet peas that are in the wrong. Maybe these sweet peas are showing me a different way to grow and thrive and produce. Maybe they are exposing more of themselves to the sun than the ones massed along the supports. I just have to trust that God has placed the desire to reach for the sun into the DNA of these little plants. I will do what I can; and I will wait on the Lord.

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some may think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

Love is patient and kind. Love does not insist on its own way (I Cor.5-6). I hope the Holy Spirit is producing this fruit in me and you. Love on. Love strong. Love in Christ.



What a glorious time of year this is! As I check on my growing sweet peas, I feel the warm sun on my shoulders and the slight breeze across my face. I can smell the damp earth and see the green leaves peeping out of what once looked like dead tree limbs. A Mockingbird is serenading me with all of his friends’ favorite songs. And the best of all, Christ is risen!

Martin Luther’s biographer credits him with saying, “Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.” Is it merely coincidence that Passover, and therefore Easter, takes place in Spring? I think not!

Spring, when God brings the dead trees to life, leads his people out of slavery, and transforms sinners into heirs of His kingdom.

But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God. John 1:12

Spring is all about transformation. As a gardener, I get to witness the amazing transformation from seed to plant in my backyard. As a lover of the outdoors, I get to see the barren limbs of trees transform into a canopy of green leaves. Even the animals sense that this is the time to bring forth children.

And God chose just this time to empower us to transform. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead ushered in the Holy Spirit’s presence in the lives of believers. He (God, Jesus, Holy Spirit) is making us a new creation (2 Cor. 3:17), giving us a new heart and a new spirit (Ezek. 36:26), and transforming us into His likeness (1 John 3:2). What a glorious time of year this is!

This week is an especially precious moment, because it is a time of waiting and watching. The sweet peas are growing; every day they seem to be taller. But there is little I can really do. It is a time to be grateful and rest. I will water if it doesn’t rain, but the hard work is done.

Soon I will need to till the rest of the garden and plant my summer crops, but it is still too early. The tiller sits idle, the fencing and weed cloth are still in the garage. I must wait until the time is right, until the chance of frost has passed, before I get back to work.

I am excited about my summer garden. I am planting carrots this year (the only true vegetable I am growing) and a fig “tree” and a raspberry bush, along with my tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. I’m a little worried I have over committed, but that will be a problem to face later. This week I am expectantly excited.

To plant a seed and watch it become a plant and bear fruit – what a gift! To see the stump of a bush or the twigs of a tree produce a leave, a bud, a flower – amazing! If nothing else, gardening makes me go outside and see the evidence of God and His transforming power.

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world, His eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things He has made. Romans 1:19-20

I encourage you this week to go outside and stand in your yard, or a park if you don’t have a yard. Feel the sun on your shoulders and the breeze on your face. Listen to the birds sing their praises. You can almost feel the earth coming alive. You can almost see resurrection in a leaf.

He is risen! He is risen indeed!


Too Many Good Things

The weather has turned warm and the sweet peas are up! Bursting through the ground; welcomed by sunshine and rain. I can’t contain my smile! Especially after last year when so few seeds actually germinated.

So, I planted a whole bunch of seeds this year, far more than recommended, hoping at least a few of them would grow.

And God, with His unique sense of humor, had them all sprout.

It is too many good things.

There is not adequate space between the plants for them to grow well. They may grow tall, but there is not enough space for them to spread out their fruit-bearing branches. When I was in advertising, we called the space between things “white space.” The white space is almost as important as the wording; the white space allows us to read the wording and clues us in to its interpretation.

The plants need this white space, this space between, as well: space for the sunlight to reach the leaves; space for the branches to reach out and grow; space for the roots to establish themselves in the soil.

At daybreak Jesus departed and went to a deserted place. And the crowds were looking for him.” Luke 4:42

So I am going to have to thin my sweet pea plants. It’s a difficult thing to do, because I want all of them. But I know that some of them will have to go if I want any of them to be successful; if I leave them all, none of them will grow well.

I am facing a similar dilemma in my life right now. I had a busy life pre-Covid. During Covid, I developed some new patterns and activities which are dear to me. Now all the old activities are back as well, and I have new grand twins.

It is too many good things.

There is not adequate space for me to do all these things well. I need some “white space,” I need some space between.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but in the face of too much to do, I have been observing the Jewish Sabbath for Lent. I am imposing some white space on my life. I have found that it helps me focus on what’s important; it allows me to pay attention to God and what He wants me to do.

Observing a 24 hour “no work zone” has also encouraged me to work more efficiently during the other six days. I find I am wasting less time on the other days. It is forcing me to be intentional about how I am spending my time.

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

So don’t ask me about the latest political wranglings; I am not filling my space with that. I am leaving uncluttered space for the plants I want to grow: space for the sunlight to reach the leaves; space for the branches to reach out and grow; space for the roots to establish themselves in the soil.

Because God is growing something in my life and in yours. We just have to make room for it to grow, even if it means getting rid of some good things.

Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more that food and the body more than clothing? Matthew 6:23

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

Create some space, my friend. If you are not sure which plants to thin, which good thing to eliminate, ask God for guidance. And take time to listen for His answer.

Happy Easter!


Freeze Warning

It was cold last week. It had been cold for a few days, and then the forecaster sent out the alarm. Freeze warning! The newscasters excitedly warn us, “Cover your plants!” In case I haven’t been paying attention, my sister called to make sure I knew. Several friends mention the freeze warning and ask if I’m worried.

Sweet peas, sugar snaps, snow peas; they do well in cool weather. It’s hot weather they don’t like. That’s why gardeners plant them in February and March. Same with most lettuces, although I don’t grow these anymore. I am pretty sure my growing plants can withstand the temperatures dropping below 32; pretty sure.

So I heed the warnings and cover the plants. Even though the forecasters often get it wrong. Even though the sweet peas should withstand the cold.

Covering the plants carries its own risks and takes effort. I use a “floating” cover, of which I have a limited supply, because it allows for more airflow than old sheets, of which I have plenty. It’s also lighter, so less likely to damage the plants, but more likely to blow away if not secured. If I use it all now, I won’t have any left for the tomatoes and cucumbers should we get a frost in May. I will have to get more or resort to sheets. If we get a frost in May.

It’s difficult to know just what the best course of action is.

We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine. Ephesians 4:14

I have had gardens for over 30 years, and I still don’t know if I am being fearful or prudent.

Fear seems to be the currency of the day. The news seems to peddle it as arduously as any snake oil salesman. The sky is falling!! Russia, China, the economy, school shootings, domestic terrorists, foreign terrorists, plagues, cyber and biological warfare; sometimes I wonder if I should leave the house!

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all this is but the beginnings of the birth-pangs. Matthew 24:6-8

So I will not be alarmed, but I will be prudent; I will take precautions; I will cover my plants.

Because plants are living things, and God has entrusted their care to us. These particular plants are my responsibility. I want to be a good steward; I want these plants in my care to thrive.

Even if I think they may be fine without my help, why take that chance? Why not make their lives a little easier for the next few days? Why not give them the equivalent of a blanket or a hug?

A few weeks ago week, a friend of mine had a medical scare. Another friend was right there with her, following her home, calling the ambulance, making sure she was okay, and bringing her home. Perhaps she would have been fine without help; perhaps she could have gotten herself to the hospital and home, but I am so glad that our friend was there to help her through the scary forecast.

And aren’t we all called to do that for each other?

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:35

Yes, it took some effort to cover my sweet peas for the next few days. Yes, I will need to replenish my supply of cover cloth. But I am not panicked about the potential of freezing temperatures. I trust I am listening to the warnings and acting with my plants’ best interest in mind.

I hope I can be that caring for all of God’s creation, even, perhaps, you. Do you need a blanket? Or a hug? Do you know someone who does?