GOD GARDENING ~ a personal experience


Anyone who knows me knows I love gardening.  My garden is Eden to me.  I have planned it to attract birds, bees, squirrels.

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I’m not really accomplished at it, not really a green thumb here as the compost pile can attest to. Lots of failures in terms of trying to grow something and having poor results.  I remember the first time I tried to have a pot plant. I was 17 yrs. old.  My first apartment was over a garage and it was so rickety the dresser mirror slapped the wall when a person walked across the floor. It was downtown Alexandria on Fisk Street, the rent was $40/month, and my landlord was Mr. T.W. Moreau. But it was home for me and I loved it. I wanted to make it my own by having a real live potted plant. I went downstairs and dug up some dirt, put it in a pot, and planted a piece of ivy someone gave me. First of all, Mr. Moreau wasn’t happy about the hole I dug, and secondly, I had no clue about a plant’s basic needs like light and water. Or potting soil. Funny thing now that I look back on it, I didn’t have a clue about a much of anything!

A lot has changed since then. I can call myself a gardener about as well as I can call myself a writer and an artist. I use too many quotation marks, commas, and colons. I start over with a painting as much as I have finished results.  Ha!  The painting I’m working on now, I had to wipe out 4 times before I got what I wanted and that was just the undercoat!  That’s just what I do. That doesn’t mean I have reached the pinnacle of what the world deems success, it just means that I have done what my heart desired. I have learned to nurture.  I’ve learned to garden.

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There are shortcuts to gardening and maybe everything else. I have found over the years that the rules of gardening correlate to the rules in life. For example, the species of humans must have community, friends if you will. Gardening is like that. All your friends want to give you a piece of theirs. You accept seeds or a plant from one friend, then another, then one more.  And before you know it – a little piece of all your friend’s gardens now live at your house. You water when it’s dry, throw a little Miracle Grow around when you think about it, pull a couple of weeds every time you go outside – then voila, people think you have a green thumb. It’s simply not true. You just have very good friends. My garden has my mother’s and Aunt Kat’s hostas. Faye, Sylivia, Deborah have shared a multitude of flora and fauna with me. Sue gives me a start of a Night Blooming Cereus every year. Every year, yeah, because somehow I manage to…. Well, I don’t even want to say it. I have daylilies galore. They keep multiplying, kind of like friends. A shortcut, but one with staggering success if you put your heart into it. My heart is into it because of my grandmother. She had a real greenhouse. I can remember the smell and her constant attention to it. It represented something akin to love and security to me.

Over the years I found that gardening is like loving God. Yes, it is. He who made all things. He who loves. He who nurtures. You wouldn’t believe how thankful I am for that! Gardening has revealed Him to me. He provides just the right amount of whatever is needed by His creation. Don’t you just love that? Please let me show you how He works this into our very own lives:

We’ve kind of had a struggle the past three years. There has been major illnesses for both my husband and myself. I have kicked it in the butt but my husband is seriously ill at the moment. We are two (barely) old folks who love each other very much, fight like cats and dogs (it’s in our DNA) and share every aspect of our lives. When I hurt, he hurts. When he hurts, I do too. Sometimes we have worldly needs that might take some creative financing. You know, the limited (barely) old folks budget thing because of medical bills, etc. Here is something I have learned; it is not necessary to worry about these things. Period.

A couple of months ago, I was commissioned to paint a picture for a Christian organization called the ACTS (Adoration, Community, Theology, Service) retreat community. To my surprise, I found it easy to come up with a composition reflecting the theme to match the future retreat for women as requested. Must have been the art angel sprinkling grace dust upon me. I don’t know. Anyway, I painted two pictures and over the weeks it took, I made it clear that this art was a donation to the community because my own spirituality had grown due to them. I love the ACTS organization. They are amazingly talented in revealing the love of the Lord to one and all. Finally the day arrived when two reps from the community, Charlotte Wasmer and Father Derek Ducote, came to assess my simple paintings and make a choice as to which one they would choose.  Fr. Derek asked Charlotte which one she wanted. She quietly said “I want both of them”. I couldn’t believe it and was so happy and humbled. We had a great visit for a couple of hours before they left taking both paintings with them. It was wonderful.  They gave me a beautiful card of sweet gratitude signed by several ACTS personal.  Before long, I got a text from Charlotte saying she left a love offering and I would know it when I saw it.   What!?   I found the envelope. I got chills when I opened it. I took it to the living room where my husband was lying down. I told him “you have to look at this”. He said he didn’t need to. I told him more firmly, “you have to look at this. I told you God would provide.” He took the envelope and his mouth dropped open.

Two weeks or so before, I threw a fleece before the Lord. If you don’t know the term, it means asking the Lord to provide for a specific need. I needed new tires on my car. I asked for that. And I trusted.

The envelope contained $400. The tires cost $398.

If that’s not GOD GARDENING, I don’t know what is!

Do me a favor please.  Will you pray for peace?  Please.  So much is going on in our country, government, world.  Let us all turn to God.

 

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Do me a favor please.  Will you pray for peace?  Please.  So much is going on in our country, government, world.  Your prayers are very much needed.  Let us all turn to God.

 

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Let me tell you about MY day!


Yesterday was quite a day for me. I had a ton of things on my to-do list, not the least of which was a fast trip to Lafayette, a Dr appointment, and having the oil changed in my car. I was only a thousand miles over due for all of it. I had to get serious and get accomplished.
The trip to Laffy was a success. Good news from the cardiologist! In fact, I told him “if this is what normal feels like, I wish I would have gotten a pacemaker years ago!” He smiled. I don’t think he quite understood me. But he’s not on the receiving end of going from 40 beats per minute to 60 beats per minute instantly. The best way I can describe it is being in a drag race. You know. You’re at the starting line and all you can do is idle. Then the green flag drops and somehow you’re in the ride of your life. This is no ordinary cruise. This is what life feels like! I’m so thankful to have that experience, especially since I’m young enough (ok, by my standards) to enjoy it. Ain’t God good?

The appointment behind me, on to lunch. The only reason I even mention it is because I wasn’t a good girl for lunch and maybe a confession is in order. In my mind the success of my doctor’s report meant I deserved to treat myself to grease, cheese, and sugar. How screwed up is that? But I never even considered I could be shooting my own self in the foot.  *sigh*  One day, I’ll learn. I’ll learn to think first. Maybe. Lord, please help me.

On to get my car’s oil changed. And gas. The little computer thing in my vehicle said I could go 48 miles before I ran out of gas which only added to my angst. Then to make matters worse, straight in front of me on this busy street, a little dog was practically skipping in the middle of the road, not a care in the world except for the two boys walking on the side of the road. He kept his eye on them but wouldn’t go to the side they were walking on. Instead he was dodging traffic and finally settled on trotting directly in front of my vehicle as if he thought he couldn’t come to any harm there. I, on the other hand, was breaking into a stress sweat, the worst possible kind according to the commercials on tv. Blowing the horn didn’t make the pup move. I rolled down the window and hollered at the boys. “Is this your dog?” The smallest one looked at me and nodded. The oldest boy just kept his face in his phone. I told them “son, you need to get your dog out of the road. He’s going to get hit or cause an accident.” The oldest boy waved me off and mumbled a few choice words I won’t repeat and something about not wanting to go all the way back home with the dog. The dog trotted to the side of the street with the boys. I drove on to the nearby gas station but I wasn’t happy. I was seriously worried about the unleashed dog and the potential for disaster. And I was fuming about the oldest boy’s attitude. In MY day… oh you know how that goes.

I was still worried after the side trip to the gas station. I had to drive back to the area I last saw the trio because it was right where I needed to go for the oil change. The boys and dog were still there. The dogs was darting everywhere, in and out of traffic, causing drivers to either brake or swerve. I pulled up beside the boys and got out of my car. “Let me have your mom’s phone number and I’ll call her to come get the dog.” The youngest started to say something, the oldest started to swear. He cursed me up one side and down the other. I lost it. An argument ensued. Yes it did. It ended with me getting back in my vehicle and retreating to a far away place in the parking lot so I could calm down. Then it hit me – call the police. So I did. The nice dispatcher listened as I relayed what was going on before very pointedly asking me if I was calling about the dog or the kids. Well, the dog of course. The belligerent kids were their mother’s problem, not mine. But I do have to admit my blood pressure had to be high. The nice lady said she would send a patrol car.
Again, I had to return to the boy’s vicinity (oil change, remember) and I parked where I could see the boys. On my way into the store, the oldest one spotted me and raised his hand, one single digit at attention. You know the one I’m talking about. He saluted me all the way to the store. The only thing I said was I’m sure your mother would be proud. That remark momentarily dropped the middle finger salute.
The store had big commercial windows that made it easy to watch what happened next.   The pup was playing in the grass on the side of the street with the youngest kid. I was happy to see the boy pick up the little thing and walk back in the direction from which he came. The oldest kid saw him leaving and caught up with him and started fussing. The little kid kept walking, apparently in defiance to what he was being told. I was proud. All this time the oldest kid never took his phone away from his face. From his expression, he seemed to be even more annoyed. About one minute later a pick-up truck pulled up behind them and a man got out. It appears heated words were exchanged. Then a police cruiser appeared, lights flashing. I turned away and went about the business of asking for an oil change. To be honest, a store clerk who watched the whole thing go down told me “good luck with that one. He comes in here and steals all the time.”
While waiting for my car to be serviced, I phoned a friend so I could ventilate. That was when I had the thought – what if the cops came into the store and arrested ME for harassing little children? Not that they were little children. The oldest was 17. I knew that because as he was spewing at me, he mentioned that he was no kid, he was 17. Lord have mercy.
The whole incident stayed with me all the way home. I fumed, I prayed, I complained to God about it. Later, I sat in the peaceful seclusion of our back porch and relayed to my husband what happened . He listened and gave me his opinion about juvenile delinquents and cautioned me to never stop anyone on the side of the street ever again. “You don’t know kids these days. One of them could have pulled out a gun and shot you!”

It wasn’t till later I finally calmed down enough to listen to what God had to say about it. Later was too late. I should have consulted Him first. He would have told me to go into the store and buy a leash for the dog, bring it to the boys and make a sorry situation better. I could have taken the high road but I didn’t. I gave into what, quite frankly, turned into a control game. I ‘lost my religion‘, as we say down here in the South. I could have, should have, done something different. I could have, should have, set a good example for the kids. I could have, should have, offered kindness and compassion. The truth is, it turns out I was a Saul before he became Paul.

Lord, I thank you for the lesson but I’m sorry I didn’t see it sooner. I’m sorry I didn’t think to do the right thing. I’m sorry I didn’t practice what I preach. Please forgive me and help me do better next time. In time. Not as an afterthought. Bless those boys, Lord and please put someone in their path who can and will lead them into the right direction. And please send a dog guardian angel to take care of the pup.

Love always,
Nancy

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Don’t forget to pray for peace, y’all.  Let’s storm heaven with our prayers!

“My child, if you accept my words and treasure up my commandments within you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; if you indeed cry out for insight, and raise your voice for understanding; if you seek it like silver, and search for it as for hidden treasures—then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”

Proverbs 2:1-5

 

Book Review – Save Us A Seat Fletcher McHale NaBloPoMo #4


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We had a busy weekend as you can see by my previous post. Not only did we do the bike run to Monroe, but I had the pleasure of meeting Fletcher McHale at her book signing at Tincy’s on the Corner in Ville Platte, La. If you haven’t heard of Fletcher yet, don’t worry, you will. She is a woman with a dynamite personality bigger than life and describes herself as a “regular girl living in the middle of a cow pasture”. Nobody has to guess how she feels about anything; she is an open book, pardon the pun. It would be hard not to see her blue eyes sparkle with laughter, or flash with anger. Save Us A Seat is her debut novel although it certainly doesn’t read like it was produced by a first-timer.

Fletcher McHale

Fletcher McHale

Oh. My. Gosh. I love this book! Look, folks, I had tears dripping from my chin onto the pages of more than one chapter. No, it isn’t a hopelessly sappy book. How can I describe it? Real life. Crazy. Funny. Emotional. Sad. Supremely happy. Enlightening. And again, funny. The story revolves around three women, best friends for life, living in the small community of Bon Dieu Falls, Louisiana. As with most tiny communities, everybody knows everybody else’s business and nothing is off limits for discussion. Carrigan, Ella Rae, and Laine know that fact all too well. They have managed to keep their friendship solid and thriving despite all the drama that small town living brings. Then restlessness creeps in, tragedy hits hard, and life as they know it will never be the same. Written in first person, Fletcher McHale has woven together a saucy story that is captivating and wrings every ounce of every emotion from the reader. The three main characters are delightfully funny with a shot of smart-ass thrown in and a bond with each other that lasts through thick and thin, right or wrong.

I highly recommend this book. Do ya’ll remember the commercial on TV that shows a little girl telling an interviewer “We want more, we want more”? Picture me on my knees saying the same thing to Fletcher McHale. Save Us A Seat is available through online bookstores everywhere.

On another note, I want to remind you to pray for peace. I talk to God pretty regular and I know He is listening. It’s the human race – we’re a mess. How we haven’t completely obliterated the earth of mankind, I’ll never know.