Rain. Reign.

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I had other plans for this weekend. Spreading mulch and doing weeding, some errands to the garden center… which the downpours have postponed. And I’ll confess it made me a little cranky.

Then I broke a favorite glass…

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And  I have to pay bills… do laundry and dishes… All which were  beginning to put me in a foul mood. Instead, I focused on the loveliness around me…

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The first Peace rose of the summer…

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Irises from our garden…

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The wisteria having a party on the pergola…

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Grandma’s peonies about to pop…

And while I’m still a little cranky about the weather… there’s a lot of beauty to appreciate. And the discipline of gratefulness to practice… even when the weather (or people like me!) are just a wee bit ugly!

Henri Nouwen wrote in Return of the Prodigal Son:

“Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are still steeped in hurt and resentment. It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint. I can choose to be grateful when I am criticized, even when my heart still responds in bitterness. I can choose to speak about goodness and beauty, even when my inner eye still looks for someone to accuse or something to call ugly. I can choose to listen to the voices that forgive and to look at the faces that smile, even while I still hear words of revenge and see grimaces of hatred.”

I choose to be grateful and keep trying to show love. Even when I don’t feel like it. Especially when I don’t feel like it.

Fields of Grace (and dandelions)

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A carpet of dandelions covered the fields. It was stunning. Field after field with the rich spring green grass and dots of yellow blossoms.

I have never really minded dandelions. They are bright, cheerful and persistent in growing and blooming. I will dig them out of my flower beds but I don’t kill them off in my yard. For many seasons, there were many little bouquets of dandelions, violets, and clover, carefully collected by small hands, and proudly displayed on the dining room table. Now, of course, it’s hip to let them bloom because they’re good for bees. 

Years ago, a former neighbor spend many an hour walking back and forth across his yard, trying to zap every single dandelion with weed killer. Then a windy day would re-seed his yard with the seeds germinated in mine.

He scowled at me one time and said, “Wouldn’t you like to grow some other kind of flower?”

I just laughed. Dandelions in small, chubby hands are a sweet gift. I’d never kill them off.

Now those hands are grown up and the dandelions are a weed of choice by the rabbits who have taken to using our yard as an extension of their warren. One evening I sat and watched a pair of rabbits hop from blossom to blossom, nibbling up the long stems to the sweet flowers. (Saving the best for last, I guess.)

I love my roses, wisteria and clematis. I savor the first peep of my snowdrops. I enjoy seeing the flowers from my grandmother’s garden, the peonies, irises and lily of the valley, when they reappear each year.

But yes. I’ll keep the dandelions, too.

Here’s to Mud on Your Boots

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PRE-mud on my boots!

 

Winter is over. The sounds of birds singing (and the gardener sneezing) fill the air. Time to set up the water feature in the back yard, clear away fallen branches, attack the early crop of weeds, and think about the growing season.

The hours I have spent raking, hauling and pruning are part of the groundwork for the lush flowers of late spring and summer. I remind myself that it’s worth it… At one point, I stopped to rest, stretching out in the sunshine, reflecting on the seasons, each with their unique challenges.

Last month we still had snow to shovel and windows to scrape clear. This week I navigated pot holes and downpours. In just a few weeks, I’ll be swearing at the mosquitos and humidity. Each season has it less than lovely moments. But each one also brings breath-taking beauty, memories worth celebrating, and moments of sweat equity.

So here’s to mud on your boots and a tissue in your pocket. It’s (finally) spring!

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A Psalm of New Growth

One of the reasons I love spring so much are these days of fast growth and change in my garden. Things that were brown vines and naked trees are shoving out new growth. This vine for my trumpet vine was literally brown and dead-looking a week ago. I walked out onto my back patio this morning to pray and saw a sudden burst of green!

New life, New growth

New life, New growth

Over the last several days, as I watered, weeded and mulched, I wonder if it “hurts” to have this new growth come so quickly. And I’ve decided, based on my own life, that it just might.

Today’s post is a Psalm of praise to God in days of growth, challenge and beauty. May it nourish and encourage you in your spiritual “growth spurts.”

A Psalm of New Growth

by Deb Vaughn

Lord of the roots and vines
Lord of the skies and trees and birds
Lord of the wind and thunderstorms
Join us here
On this tender plot of our lives.

You have guided us
You have prepared us
You have nurtured us
You have turned us back to the Trellis of your ways.
We praise you.

Spirit of transplanting
Spirit of fertilizing, pruning and mulching
Spirit of weeding and clipping
Meet us here
As leaves unfurl and blossoms dance.

You have guided us
You have prepared us
You have nurtured us
You have turned us back to the Trellis of your ways.
We praise you.

Redeemer of the healing rains
Redeemer of the land and heart
Redeemer of the luscious harvest
Join us here
On this tender plot of our lives.

You have guided us
You have prepared us
You have nurtured us
You have turned us back to the Trellis of your ways.
We praise you.

Even when the blossoms fade
Even when the harvest is stolen
Even when there is an early frost
Even when we long for your healing rain
We praise you.

You have guided us
You have prepared us
You have nurtured us
You have turned us back to the Trellis of your ways.
We praise you.

You are welcome to use this Psalm with credit to the author, and to God.

Friday Five: Pests

Jan from RevGalBlogPals offers this week’s Friday Five:

After lots of rain and high temperatures, the flea population has mushroomed in Corpus Christi, TX, more specifically in our home! We have three dogs and one indoor cat, who have had their monthly flea treatments to no avail. Unfortunately, my female body is the one the fleas love to bite. So as you are reading this Friday Five, our pets and ourselves will be gone from the house for 3-4 hours, after a pest company sprays all the floors.

With fleas on my mind and on my body, here is an insect-ious Friday Five:

Since I’m in the middle of a big gardening work-out, this week’s Friday Five is quite appropriate!

1.What kinds of pests are in your neighborhood or area? We have mosquitos, stink bugs and gnats. Those are of the insect variety. Then there’s the four-legged pests: deer, raccoons, chipmunks and squirrels…

2. Is there a time of year or day that increases their activity? Weather affects their activity or not? The mosquitos definitely are on the upswing with all of this warm, wet weather. I do my best to keep things free of standing water, but there’s lots of places for them to breed.

3. Is there any pest that was new to you when you moved to a new location? It would have to be the deer! Those four-legged pests are walking mulch piles. Not to mention the issues with ticks!

4. How do you treat insect bites? Are you allergic to any? I seem to be quite delicious to a number of them. I develop lovely reactions. Just lovely. And usually I seem to get the most bites right before I want to go to an event where I want to wear a skirt.

We have three main comfort measures:

  1. – Cort-aid sticks or sprays
  2. – aloe-vera gel
  3. – Dermoplast spray

When all else fails, a Benadryl tends to take care of the rest of my symptoms.

5. Anything else you want to write about connected with insects/pests. Well, the old saying goes that we have two kinds of mosquitos around here. One kind are the little guys who get through every screen gap. The other kind are the great big ones who just open up the door and walk in! 😉

As far as repellants go — I use Deep Woods Off. The citronella stuff is a nice idea, but I don’t see that it works that well. However, it does make for nice lighting in the early evening. When I finish my yardwork, I’ll post pictures. 🙂