Monday, July 22, 2013

On Clouds and Priorities

Life has been a little chaotic around here lately...a new baby coming...a nineteen-year-old leaving...and did I mention that recovering from a C-section at 41 is not the same thing as recovering from a C-section at 25, or even 31 for that matter? So, needless to say, the schedule and routines that I struggle so hard to achieve and maintain, that are so vital to my sanity, have pretty much become non-existent.

Having said that, I now find myself clawing my way back to some semblance of order - but how to prioritize must be my greatest weakness! Last week, however, the priority of house/yard work set itself. In the desert in mid-summer, the heat can be intolerable - even dangerous. But last week we were blessed with the onset of our monsoon season, and so had cool, cloudy, beautiful weather. Hang the housework! I'm pruning my roses before it gets hot again! I got it all done by Friday evening.  Not any too soon either...this morning it was already uncomfortably warm by eight o'clock and 100+ temperatures are threatening again.

What kind of beautiful clouds do we have in our lives that we ought to be taking advantage of? Our children? A friend? An opportunity to serve? How quickly the clouds pass and the sun beats down again.

I know how easy it is to get drawn into the swirling abyss that is called motherhood.  Teaching.  Training.  Dishes.  Laundry.  Cooking.  Cleaning.  Settling sibling disputes.  Soothing a fevered child.  And on.  And on.  But when I look back, I can see so clearly the beautiful clouds I missed. The opportunities I missed because my priorities were skewed in the moment.

Even as I gather these thoughts, my laundry pile is shrinking and the dust bunnies are being tamed - and a sweet voice calls my name - "Mom?"  The magazine-picture-perfect house really doesn't matter.  I have to go and hug someone right now.

Happy Gardening.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

On Time and Eternity...and Love

It has been nearly a year since I last shared with you...though many ideas have been swarming through my head...
But there was something else I had to write first and somehow just couldn't find the courage to put the words down in black and white.  You know how it is - things seem more real...more harsh...when they are written...but it is done now, and I am back with you.

So much has transpired in our lives that it really seems like an eternity rather than a year.  So many emotions have passed over us, it is hard to describe. Joy after years of waiting...a day almost happier than the day I married the Love of my life...shock, heartbreak and devastation...then...inexplicably, almost unbelievably, joy after sorrow. Through it all, I can truly say all the time that God is good, and that He is good all the time.

As I head out to my garden for early spring work, I calculate the new projects, the ideas, the plans, the cleaning, the raking, the weeding, the pruning, the fertilizing...and on...and on....and it just seems like there is not nearly enough time. Yet when I get out there, everything else fades away. Time ceases to exist. My precious daughters help me. As we prune and weed, we talk of dreams great and small, near and far. I see my middle son running across the yard, and as he runs, I can see his imagination carrying him to far-away, magical places. Then a sudden crash back to reality, as my oldest son comes to mind...a young man now, no longer the little boy with mud on his face and a fistfull of dandelions for he has his own plans and dreams, though he holds me in the same place in his beautiful heart that he ever did. No, indeed there really is not enough time.  Then the clock is rolled back again as one daughter comes twirling outside to me, carrying our newest joy - our beautiful new baby boy.  "Mama, Evan needs you!"  The sweetest words a mother could ever hear - that her child needs her!

What is time? Hours, minutes and seconds? Days, weeks, months and years? Of course, but how can a year pass by in a moment, yet a moment seem like an eternity? What then is left for us? How are we to manage such an elastic commodity? There can only be one answer: To fill our moments with love as we would fill our gardens with roses. Love that we nurture and care for as ardently as a rosarian tends his garden. Why? Because then we are not only filling Time, we are filling Eternity. After all, Love never dies.

Happy Gardening!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

On Wind and Choices

Years ago, I received a catalog of antique roses.  I was convinced! Sold!  I could hardly wait to get my hands on the antique Bourbon rose, Zephirine Drouhin. Introduced to the world of roses in 1868, and one of very few thorn-less climbers, it is definitely a favorite in my garden. It's a heavy repeat-bloomer that drenches my yard with amazing fragrance on warm afternoons.  I sure am glad I chose this particular rose. But before I could own this this graceful beauty, there was another choice that had to be made...

It was May, 2003, and very near our 11th wedding anniversary.  Our youngest of four children was almost a year old, and we were rapidly out-growing the tiny single-wide trailer house provided for us by the mission we were working with at that time.  So we went house-hunting.  The place we settled on was the very place that I had felt drawn to for years. Every time we drove by it, I remember thinking, "I could live there!"

Now, to tell you the truth, there really was more wrong with the place than right. It was definitely a "fixer-upper"...a handy man's dream come true! Yet, in spite of its obvious short-comings, my husband (the practical one) saw three major advantages: 1. It had a nice, big kitchen for me. 2. It had a garage where he could earn money to provide for us.  3. (and most importantly) The price was right.

But I saw only one thing. I could garden here.  The place is protected to the north and west by a mountain, and all around by the neighborhood. You see, here in the Chihuahuan Desert, sand drifts like the snow up north. Only with one major difference: the drifts and mounds of snow up north kept my sleeping garden protected from the harshness of the winter. The murderous sandstorms of the southwest destroy everything in their wake. So as my wise, practical husband was considering the pros and cons of the place, I went snooping around the yard...and what I did NOT find was perfect. There were no sand drifts, though the place had been empty for two years. Yes, indeed, I could garden here.  We had truly chosen the right place!

Last Wednesday, my beautiful Zephirine Drouhin was absolutely covered with blooms.So beautiful, so perfect, so obviously enjoying the spot I had chosen for her to grow. Then came Thursday...and the winds...and by Friday morning, my beauty was nearly stripped bare of all her glory!

Even though we had painstakingly agonized over the decision to purchase this land, and we knew it was the right place, even though we are protected from the worst of the blowing sand, the winds still find their way into my garden. But don't despair, Penny! Saturday morning I went out to survey the damages, and do some weeding and pruning, and right there - next to the faded, torn, and destroyed blooms - are the buds of the next round of blossoms!

Even though we, by the grace of God, and agonizing in prayer, strive to make the right decisions in life and do the very best we can, hardships like winds still manage to find their way into our lives. But don't despair, my dear friends! Right next to your broken dreams are the buds of new blessings! Remember to trust the Master Gardener - He knows your heart even better than you do and He loves you.

Keep on gardening! The next round of blossoms - and the next round of blessings - are on their way.

Happy Gardening!

 My beautiful Zephie in full bloom, framing the garden beyond

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

On Twining

  The art we display is a reflection of who we are...what moves us...inspires us...thrills us...what we are passionate about...what makes us smile.  If this is true, then you will see my heart when you come into my home. I find myself drawn to two themes. Gardening. And children. And the funny thing is, they are more related than one might think at a first, casual glance.

  I am sure that as I share my reflections on roses and life, they will intertwine with each other like the roses and clematis over the arbor in my garden.
I'm looking forward to taking this creative journey.  I hope you will enjoy it with me.  I hope to make someone smile, lift someone's load, encourage someone, and maybe, just maybe, some of the blessings that have been given to me, that leave me a debt I can never repay, I can pass along to someone.
So, here's to the start of our twining together! Happy Gardening!