Gardening With God

I always admired the way my mother knew the names of each flower, shrub, or tree she planted.  This seemed no easy task to me, because she planted A LOT.  Her yard was (and still is) beautiful and bursting with blooms in a variety of colors from spring through autumn.  After I got married and built a house, my yard was a blank canvas.  How scary, yet exciting.  My Mom took me to Lowe’s and helped me pick out shrubs and flowers for the front of my house.  As she helped me plant them, I thought to myself, ‘I sure hope I can take care of these.’  Well, weeds grew before I knew it in the new garden and I became overwhelmed.  My garden didn’t look like my Mom’s, and I didn’t enjoy the work as she did.  So I prayed to God and asked him to help me with my garden.  I asked God to let me glorify Him through my garden and to enjoy the work as well.

The next March, I began pouring over two gardening books:  one about annuals and one about perennials.  My appetite was insatiable.  I learned the names of many plants and whether they were sun or shade tolerant, etc.  So many possibilities, so little time!  God gave me the hunger for the wisdom, so to speak, and then the desire to put it into practice.  That summer my Mom gave me a garden stone that said, “Expect Miracles.”  How fitting for my new garden, which miraculously was really pretty.  My garden is never finished and I add, change, and move things around every year.  I think that is what God is doing with me.  I am not “finished” on my spiritual journey, nor does He expect me to be.  God is continually refining me and growing me into the person that He desires.  I get frustrated that my garden is not always how I want it, just as I get frustrated with my spiritual journey.  Why can’t they both be easier to attain?  Just as weeds constantly grow in my garden, sin creeps into my life.  I have to be ever-vigilant and stay on top of “weeding” out the things that God and I do not like.

Gardening has brought me closer to God.  I remember the prayer I asked Him almost twenty years ago asking for His help in something so minor as gardening.  He planted the seed (no pun intended!), and by the next spring I was rearing to go.  God showed Himself to me in every beautiful bloom.  Several years ago, I planted a young Kousa dogwood tree.  I knew that it would not bloom right away, but I anxiously waited for a few springs, hoping to see a bud.  One summer night (two years after I planted the tree) I was feeling down.  For some reason, I looked at my dogwood tree and saw blooms for the first time!  I felt tears of joy spring to my eyes, not just for the blooms, but for feeling God’s presence.  God knew how badly I wanted that silly tree to bloom and what mattered to me, mattered to Him.  He also chose that moment to show me His love and faithfulness.  What a gift.  I have reminders all over my yard of His love and faithfulness.  Sure some things I plant die or don’t turn out like I expected, but I never give up.  Praise the Lord, He never gives up on me either.  Through Him, all things (and people) can be made beautiful.

“I am the vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

Mardi

Back in the Saddle

I took my first ride of the season yesterday, and boy was it fun.  Mardi and I are fair-weather riders, so needless to say, we don’t put many miles on Colin and Angus between November to April.  We also have these kids that like to make us chauffeur them around everywhere, so sometimes it isn’t always easy to find the time.  Either way, it seems like there is always some reason I don’t ride as much as I want to.  I probably shouldn’t have yesterday either…my three kids all had friends or neighbor kids over, so I left my poor husband to look after about seven (or was it eight?) kids by himself.  Nevertheless, I took advantage of his generosity and headed to the barn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not gonna lie, I still get nervous riding sometimes, especially after a few months off.  Something about getting on a 1500 pound animal that has a mind of his own, and has been known to freak out at imaginary monsters on the other side of the fence.  Mardi and I didn’t even start riding until our 30’s, and sometimes I wonder what we were thinking!  Wait…I know.  We pictured ourselves moseying along a trail on a horse with nerves of steel, who never would dream of spooking.  Well…that was just plain naive.  It’s gonna happen sooner or later.  And it has.  Even if you’ve had way more successful rides than scary ones, it’s so easy for your mind to go back to those scary times when you put your feet in the stirrups.

Gotta love the English tack and western boots…classy.

 

Riding has definitely shown me how rewarding it can be to step out of my comfort-zone.  I have never considered myself adventurous or brave, and I’m still not.  But I saddle up despite my fears because it’s too fun not to.  And I don’t want the what-ifs to control my life and steal my joy.  What if I fall and get hurt?  What if something happens to one of my kids? What if we start a blog and nobody reads it and it’s a total failure?  I could go on forever.  But that isn’t what God wants for us, thankfully.  He reminds us over and over again in the Bible not to live in fear.  Here are two of my favorite verses about conquering fear and remembering that God is with me wherever I am…even on the back of a horse!

 

And what if I don’t fall…or fail?  What if I put my trust in God and do my best and just enjoy the ride?

 

 

 

Repurposed Sweater Into a Cape

You may have read in my last post that I decided to make Fynnlay a little capelet or cape for her Easter dress the Saturday night before.  I couldn’t find a cute little cardigan that I liked, and I knew she would be cold with a sleeveless dress.  And I had started knitting one, but knew I wouldn’t get it done in time.  So at about 7:30 Saturday night, in between coloring eggs, I found an old sweater of mine that matched her dress perfectly.  I cut off the bottom half, sewed a lining in since she can’t stand itchy sweaters, and then knit a quick I-cord and threaded it through the sweater layer.  It covered her little shoulder perfectly,and I couldn’t believe how nice the colors complemented her dress.  Plus, it was free!  She was still freezing since it was only about 45 degrees out in the morning, but it took the chill off.

Now I’m thinking of making her some more since it was so easy!  If you are interested in more details on how I made it, feel free to leave a comment below and I will get back with you!

 

 

Easter Greetings

Happy Easter, everyone!  To quote the well-known hymn, “Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!”  It is a blessed day for sure.  The Brott family had our very own Easter miracle today:  we were almost on time for church today!  We were only five minutes late for church instead of…..well, we won’t go there.  I always say the devil is at work on Sunday mornings because we are always running late and everyone is irritable.  Then we walk into church and smile (like we haven’t been bickering).

Forgive me, I digress.  Easter is a time of rebirth.  The daffodils and hyacinths are blooming, the forsythia bushes, and you can buy tulips (they haven’t bloomed yet here).  Megan and I love giving our homes spring-y touches and decorating for Easter.  She displayed her Easter decorations on a previous post, so I’ll show you some of mine.  Since it’s Easter today, it’s too late for this year, but you can get ideas for next year.  Or just emulate the spring-y décor and take out the bunnies.

My parents have a forsythia bush, so I hacked away on it to create my own little “bush” at home.  Down the beach there are some pussywillows.  Megan and I noticed them on a walk one day.  Sadly, most of them had gone to seed.  There were just enough branches for me to put in a crock.  I bought tulips at Walmart, but any other “plant” is a pretend one.

As I’m writing this, I have on “Here Comes Peter Cottontail.”  Yes, I am very juvenile.  I absolutely love watching holiday shows.  Megan’s girls Milla and Fynnlay usually come over and watch them with me, but we didn’t get around to it this year.  We broke our time-honored tradition….and I live for tradition!  I didn’t stray from tradition last night, though. The traditional night-before-Easter marathon of boiling eggs, watching “The Ten Commandments” on TV, and ironing everyone’s clothes for church the next day (Eureka!  Maybe that’s why we’re always late for church….I only iron ahead of time for Easter).  Anyway, whatever your Easter traditions, I hope you enjoyed this blessed holiday.  In closing, I’ll quote another famous Easter hymn (if it’s stuck in my head, it might as well be in yours too):  “Up from the grave He arose!  With a mighty triumph o’er His foes!  He arose a victor from the dark domain, and He’ll live forever in our hearts again!”  Hopefully I quoted it right, but the sentiments remain.

God Bless!

MardiHere’s Megan’s and my families with our parents, sister Kendal, and her fiancé Rob.  We had just had an amazing brunch at Bella Maria’s. If we look cold, it’s because we were!

Easter Greetings!

As the day comes to a close, and all of the eggs have been colored, the baskets found, the clothes ironed, and candy eaten, it feels good to sit down and appreciate all that Easter is.  Of course, I enjoy all of the afore-mentioned activities…even if I didn’t buy Easter candy and basket goodies until yesterday, and I forgot to get eggs and had to go back out at 7:30.  And we didn’t finish coloring until 9.  Oh, and did I mention I decided to make a little cape for Fynn to match her dress at 8:00 last night?  I know, I know…nothing like last-minute…I think Mardi and I both work well under pressure, though.

Anyway, I feel so incredibly blessed, especially on this day.  As I was reading my Bible earlier this week, I came across these verses:

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith– of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:3-9

Holy cow!  Is that amazing or what!  I’m pretty sure it was divine intervention that I stumbled upon those verses a few days before Easter.  Peter perfectly sums up the true meaning of Easter and why we should be filled with hope and joy on this day.  We are born again, we are forgiven,  we have a living hope through Jesus Christ, we have an eternal inheritance in heaven, we have inexpressible and glorious joy in the salvation of our souls!   What more could a girl ask for?

It is my prayer that you, too, know the inexpressible and glorious joy that comes from being loved and redeemed by our Lord and Savior on this day and always.  Happy Easter!

Megan

Fynnlay’s Fairy

My youngest, Fynnlay, has a very active imagination.  She was in total fairy mode at Christmas and wanted a fairy doll and fairy house.  Santa obliged, of course, and so did Grandma.  My mom bought her the cutest little fairy door that you put in your bedroom and invite your fairy to enter your world.  The idea is to leave notes for your fairy and she writes back.  (Ahem…thanks MOM!)  Fynn loves it and has written several notes since Christmas.  Well, I went into her room the other night to pull up her covers after she had fallen asleep and luckily I noticed she had written Flower, her fairy.  It was just so sweet I had to share.  Here is a picture of her note:

And here is Flower’s fairy door set up on her dresser…

In case you were wondering, Flower did write back in tiny little script that she was definitely not mad!