Grace – the Perfect Gift

We have just finished a season of giving – and receiving. As I get older (I just celebrated my 71st birthday) my focus is less and less on “stuff” for presents and more on giving “experiences”.

This desire has backfired recently. Our daughter told me her son said “Nana always gives us a present, then we don’t get to do it”

Full disclosure – So, three years ago we scheduled NASCAR Go-Cart rides for all the grandkids but had to cancel because some family members had COVID and some couldn’t travel because of COVID. (we did get to ride go-carts together this summer – just two and one-half years later) Then last year we planned to go snow tubing – but it was raining so we all went to an indoors play center with trampolines, games, and simulated rides. This year we again planned to go snow tubing but it was 14 degrees and everyone felt that it was TOO cold. That is when our grandson made the above statement. For children a delayed experience may seem like it never happens. (we ended up giving them money – a last resort)

This got me thinking about receiving God’s grace. It is clearly a gift, scripture mentions that fact repeatedly. Grace is unmerited favor and God gives us grace – not because we have

  • earned it
  • deserved it
  • paid for it
  • said the correct words
  • worn the correct clothes
  • served the poor
  • prayed enough

You get the idea. NOTHING I do can merit God’s matchless, unconditional grace.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says –

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves,

it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.

God’s grace is a gift.

His grace keeps on giving.

Unlike Nana’s gifts that sometimes change at the last minute or are delayed because of weather, God’s gift of grace is eternal. It never expires or is canceled. It is never late or misplaced.

God’s grace is the perfect gift.

Just as God has extended His grace to us, may we extend His grace to others this year.

Blessings in the New Year – 2023!

We did get in snow tubing on December 29th. It was cold, but not 14 degrees!

Abundant Blooms


Another amazing woman who added so much beauty to our community has passed away at 91. Bernice Rogers Elliot was one of those unique individuals that shared her flowers, quilts, vegetables from her garden, and recipes with everyone she met. Bernice made you feel at home and part of her family on the first visit. I am enjoying plants in my yard that came from Bernice.

Her legacy of sharing beauty lives on in my garden and many other gardens in our community.

Bernice also shared wisdom. I remember asking her as we walked through her abundant flower garden years ago, how she kept her flowers blooming. I was new at growing flowers and Bernice’s were so plentiful and diverse. She was cutting blooms to share with me, and several other folks as we walked. I knew she had given away literally scores of blooms, but there were still so many growing right before us!

“I have so many because I give them away. The more you cut the blooms, the more you will have.” Bernice exclaimed with her beautiful smile.

The secret of Bernice’s abundant flowers was the fact that she gave them away.

Jesus taught us that same principle in Luke 6:38 NLT

38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

How true this is in our lives! When we give generously to others, we receive so much in return.

There is a lesson from biology that aligns with this principle. My father, a biology teacher, taught me that the purpose of a flower is to attract pollinators, which after their job is complete, causes the flower to form seeds. If flowers are cut, no seeds are produced, so the plant makes more flowers to fulfill its purpose.

Bernice’s daughter, Lois Cline, shares her mother’s generous spirit and love of beauty. My lentin roses, a gift from Lois, have spread so I can share them with others just as they were shared with me.

Bernice’s legacy lives on in Lois.

As I share my abundant flowers, more will grown. As I share God’s love, more love is given.

May we abundant in our giving, sharing all we have and are with others.

In My Garden With God #20

Receiving Gifts

Mom and Dad Mingus mill

After having shared our home with us for almost 9 years, my parents are moving. They are sorting and packing, deciding what to keep, what to give away, and what to take to the Goodwill. Yet there is the inevitable collection of treasured items from 65 years of marriage and almost 90/85 years of life that they will not have room for. We live in a big, old farm house and they had use of several rooms besides “their” bedroom, sitting room, bathroom and guest room, so down-sizing is a challenge.

My parents have generously offered many lovely and interesting treasures to my brothers and myself. We are now at the point of needing to downsize ourselves, so accepting some items has been a challange. To be totally upfront, many of their things are nicer than ours so accepting has NOT been a chore.

We all have “things” we keep that have emotional attachments or special meaning that no one else may share. Phil and I once agreed that we had way too many books and we needed to get rid of some. So, we agreed that we would each go through our book shelves and pull out books we no longer wanted to keep.

That did NOT work! All the books I no longer wanted to keep were significant to Phil, why I don’t know. The books he wanted to donate were books I treasured – he shouldhave known! So the result is that all those books are in our attic.

As my parents have passed on to us treasures from their past, it has caused me to think about gifts we give and receive. We sometimes think a loved one will treasure the same things we do because we think they understand how much those things mean to us.

It reminded me that God has given each of us gifts as HIS children.

Do I treasure those gifts as much as I should?

1 Peter 4:10-11 (NLT)

10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 11 Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

These verses clearly state that God has given EACH of us gifts. It is vitally important in our lives as His children to not only receive those gifts, but to use them for His glory.

I plan to use the hand crocheted bedspread my mother just gave me. Not only will it remind me of her, but it will also remind me on the hours of love and care that it took to make the bedspread.

Each gift from our heavenly Father should remind us of His love and care for us.

May we use each gift He has given us for His glory!