My Father’s Handiwork

     2006

My sister-in-law, Mitzi, recently sent me this picture of my father collecting tiny Japanese maples under the beautiful “mother” tree in her yard in Eugene, Oregon. Dad brought these two inch high seedlings home to North Carolina on the airplane and planted them in a sheltered place.

Now, fourteen years later we have several beautiful trees and so do our daughters! One even traveled north to Wheaton when Mom and Dad moved there to a retirement community. These Japanese maples are especially beautiful in the fall.

All from little seedlings.

The greatest blessing to me is the remembrance of my father whenever I see these trees.

I realized after Mitzi sent me this picture that I have reminders of my father ALL OVER OUR YARD! His handiwork is a constant reminder that my Dad lived here with us for over 8 years, and not only did he live here, but he left a legacy of beauty.

Which leads me to the next realization  – my Heavenly Father has left His legacy – all creation – as a constant reminder of His presence.

Just as I look at a tree or flower that Dad planted and am reminded of him, I recognize that God, in His creative power has made all things, including humans. When I see people, I am reminded that God created humans in His image.

“Red, brown, yellow, black and white, we’re ALL precious in His sight.”

Caring for our garden and the plants Dad left here honors his memory.

Caring for other people honors God who created them.

If I am not showing love and respect for ALL people, I am not honoring the God who created them. In this time of turmoil and unrest in our country, I must do all I can to honor God by showing honor to His creation – the entire human race.

In Mark 12:30-31 Jesus answers a question from one of the religious leaders – “Which is the most important commandment?”

30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

When I love my neighbor as myself. I am honoring my Heavenly Father by caring for His creation.

My challenge right now is to show love to all people, not only those I agree with. Because each person is God’s handiwork and He loves them, so will I.

2020

 

In My Garden with God #26

 

 

 

The Little Things

Many of the “big things” have been taken away from us recently.

  • birthday parties
  • funerals
  • weddings
  • baby showers
  • celebrations
  • graduations
  • JOBS!

So, we are left with the little things.

I bought these tiny vases at the pottery festival this year with the idea that I would pick tiny flowers and display them together, multiplying their impact. As you can see from the photo – it worked! These little violets grow all around the edges of our yard, but go unnoticed because they are small. Their delicate beauty would be lost in a large bouquet.

Georgia O’Keeffe, who painted very large canvases (some 30ft. by 30ft) said that she saw people pass by beautiful flowers without noticing them. “I will paint these flowers so large, you will have to notice them,” declared O’Keeffe.

and she did…

and they did.

Now we are left with the little things as we stay home and practice social distancing, respecting the health of our families, friends, and neighbors.

This is more difficult for some folks than others. I have two members of my family who seem to be enjoying the social isolation very much. Their introverted personalities thrive in quiet, contemplative times.

Several others of us feel a void of social interaction. Two of our granddaughters have been reported to me as whiny and even crabby. (I guess you could ask Phil if the same is true of their Nana.) As extroverts, our souls feed on social interaction, and right now, they are not being fed in that way.

Yet I am learning to appreciate the little things. Our yard has never looked so good this time of year. A large part of that is due to all the rain and a mild spring, but additionally, since I am home, I have weeded and trimmed places that have been at the bottom of my “list.” I am finding great joy and peace in my garden.

I sense God’s presence there.

After all, it all began in a garden, didn’t it?

Before there were all the “big” things, there were just two people and their Creator. They walked together in the garden in the cool of the day.

So, during this time of social isolation, I have the opportunity to “walk with my Creator.”  I can sense His presence apart from the usual rush of life filled with the “big” things.

Psalm 16: 8-11

I know the Lord is always with me.
    I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.

No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.[

    My body rests in safety.
10 For you will not leave my soul among the dead[
    or allow your holy one to rot in the grave.
11 You will show me the way of life,
    granting me the joy of your presence
    and the pleasures of living with you forever.

It is also a time for prayer. There are many suffering because of COVID-19.

There are others who are suffering because of life events apart from this crisis.

My prayer is that I will use this time for God’s glory –

noticing the little things and allowing them to satisfy.

 

 

 

 

In Season and Out of Season

Camellia

I was complaining to Phil recently about my camellia bush blooming out of season. “These beautiful blooms will all turn brown when it gets cold again!,” I fussed. “It is still winter and these flowers open up as soon as it gets warm.”

“Just enjoy them whenever they bloom.” Phil admonished me. “It doesn’t matter what season they bloom.” And this coming from someone who grew up thinking the four seasons were baseball, football, basketball, and hockey….

The more I thought about it, the more I realized Phil had a point. I LOVE the blooms of flowers. If I enjoy my camellia blooms in April, what is preventing me from enjoying them in December, January, and February, too?

Only my attitude.

They did turn brown two nights later, but I had already picked 5 and we enjoyed them in vases for a week. It was like a touch of spring in our house.

These early blooming flowers have also reminded me of God’s faithfulness and God’s desire that we be faithful.

Just as I should be thankful that the flowers are blooming instead of lamenting the timing, our Heavenly Father wants me to be ready to share the good news of salvation through Jesus whether the timing seems perfect or not. I need to be ready in season and out of season.

In II Timothy 4:2-4 Paul is encouraging young Timothy to be ready to share the truth of Jesus.

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 

They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 

These verses, written around 2000 years ago certainly describe our current culture, don’t they? I know that I am often guilty of not recognizing opportunities to share the Gospel because it is “out of season” – not the situation or timing I am used to or comfortable with.

I need to be ready in season and out of season.

I am so thankful for the encouragement I receive in my garden with God.

 

# In My Garden with God   24