Archive for May, 2013

Its times like this that make me glad to be where I am at today. If you have watched the news you have likely heard about the devastating tornadoes that ravaged my home, Oklahoma. I know I can’t really add to what my Okie family has said already, but I have grown to love this state more and more as I have grown older. I haven’t always felt this way, but every time we face challenges, it reminds me of all the good here. In the little bit of traveling I have done, I gather that we are a strange people. I got strange looks and comments just for being polite and kind, and my kids were regarded as even more weird because they were fairly well behaved and helpful. For me, it’s just how it always has been, it’s what has been instilled in us.  

When you live in a place where tornadoes are just a part of life, you have to stick together, even if you don’t always like each other. Each time there is devastation there is the reminder that “It could have been me”. Looking at damage, there can be literally inches and feet that separate losing everything and being spared. I have seen many tornadoes over the years (thankfully mostly on our local channels!), but this one affected me emotionally more than others, even the May 3rd,1999 one. Maybe it was because of the schools hit, and realizing my own children might not be safe. Or perhaps being older and more aware of how short life is.

There have been so many times I wished I lived somewhere else, or debated whether I would trade other risks instead of tornadoes. Then I see communities coming together and even in the midst of all of it people somehow find hope and humor. I see people of all ages, beliefs and races coming together just to be there for others. I see strength through all the tears and sweat. I see these things, and I see Christ in action (whether they believe or not!) and I know that there is no other place I would rather be, especially if faced with crazy weather every spring.

I have this image in my head…of a crowd of people crouched down with rubble all around in the seconds after everything is destroyed. There is silence and shock as night falls. Slowly, one by one, with head held high, they rise, facing the eastern sky. And it’s there that hope rises as fiery as an Oklahoma sunrise.



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“Might I,” quavered Mary, “might I have a bit of earth?”

In her eagerness she did not realize how queer the words would sound and that they were not the ones she had meant to say. Mr. Craven looked quite startled.

“Earth!” he repeated. “What do you mean?”

“To plant seeds in–to make things grow–to see them come alive,” Mary faltered – from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

So many times this quote comes to mind when working in my garden.  There is just something about clearing out things and the organic smell of freshly turned ground…Then nurturing living things to grow into all their beautiful potential.


I know from this picture it may not look like much of anything to most people. About a month ago it was completely full of grass. In fact I had to mow it or use the weed eater on it! A few years ago I had it cleared it and looking pretty great, but I had pretty much given up on it when I was going through my separation and divorce.  I felt so hurt and broken that I could care less about such a chore. I didn’t really care about much of anything since my world was crumbling around me. I gave up on gardening, letting the weeds and grass take over, as if it were a representation of what had happened to my life. Then God healed my heart and my mind, but I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with work, taking care of my kids, physical pain and life in general.

I don’t know exactly what changed in me this spring. Maybe it was looking at that garden, seeing my own reflection. I saw in that bit of earth potential for life…and set it on my heart to make it into something that will bring some joy every time I look at it. Working the ground, I hear God talking to me, giving me glimpses of how He works with us.  He looks at all our weeds and digs down to get them out by the roots. Sometimes it may hurt, like when the weeds are choking the good plants out and He pulls the weeds anyway. He has the vision of the finished garden in mind as He works and plants to create something full of beautiful life.

I see what He has done in my own life, everyday it’s growing into something more beautiful than I ever dreamt it could be.  Just like the picture is only a fraction of my actual garden space in real life (I have a whole other section in the front and a HUGE area in the back), I know what God has done is only a tiny bit of what He will continue to do.

So I work, slowly clearing out the grass, smiling to myself with each earthworm discovered and each root taken out…knowing I will hurt a little more in the morning. I keep focusing on the bigger picture, dreaming of 2 particular gardens I want to create…one full of all sorts of edible things and one full of old fashioned floral memories…using the time working towards the dreams, to grow closer to my heavenly Father. The more I work, the more I realize that this is quickly becoming to my soul what writing has been for so much of my life.

I think again about the quote at the beginning of this post. I imagine that maybe my spirit must have asked Him something similar when He created me. “Father, might I go down there and tend to a bit of earth? Might I somehow experience life down there?” I don’t know what He might have said, but I like to think that He gave me permission, and warned me of the pains I would experience in human life, but with those pains would come a growth spiritually that would prepare me for my eventual return home and a greater appreciation of His power and glory. I would accept the challenge, wanting to see all the beauty that life has to offer and to know the Father even more.

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Lately, every chance I get to go to that little old house, I am flooded by the echoes of the place I took for granted so many years. Each time, I wonder if it should be the last time I get to go there…and each time I see it slowly fading away. Within the walls, the whispers of lives lived can be heard. From celebrations and mournings, giggles and arguments…tell of the joy and pain of family.

Lazy summers spent lying in the cool clover patches watching the cotton clouds float by, while the strange smell of earth and pool water filled my nostrils.Then there was the feeling of cold moist concrete on bare feet as we dared to run down the sidewalk to jump into the pool, when the adults weren’t looking. Even now, I can see my younger self turning the front porch into a stage and my little brother and I chasing a portly blond Chihuahua until we are out of breath. Walking into the old shop I close my eyes, and imagine back when it was full of tools and wood…and the hints of sawdust, oil and paints still hang in the air. I remember those summers spent digging through the box of wood scraps, hoping to find the perfect pieces for building swords.

All these things (and so much more), I hope to remember for as long as I live, even if they bring tears to my eyes. One day, I hope my home, no matter where it might be, will bring similar memories to my kids and their kids. I pray that they will have memories that will bring to mind all the things about love and family as I do. There is such joy in these things, even as I mourn the changes of life. God, help me to not take anything for granted again.

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