Water, sunshine and love

Plants are the most amazing things ever. They give us oxygen and take in carbon dioxide. They produce flowers and fruit and their own seeds. Getting them to grow is not all that complicated.

Until recently however, I really did have a black thumb.

I killed nearly every single plant that came into my possession. Now and then there would be a survivor of the heartiest variety, but most fell victim to my neglectful ways. On a few occasions, one of my friends would give me a plant and I would cringe. The pressure to keep it alive was crippling.

Don’t get me wrong. I love plants. I love wandering around nurseries admiring all the beauty. I can barely remember the names or what they need, but I love to look. I stopped buying them years ago, knowing their fate was doomed given my pitiful plant parenting.

About 8 months ago, all of that changed. I am now a successful plant mom. Just look…

Here we have Hibiscus, Petunias, and others, then Cilantro, Basil and Parsley, and Sunflowers that I planted from seeds. At the bottom right, it’s a Miniature Rose plant from Prince Charming. This landscape is nothing short of a miracle.

Right now they all need some water, and it’s thundering but not raining, so I’m waiting to see what happens. Sunshine is a given here (um, yes, it’s the actual Sunshine State)! But the water will have to come from the hose soon if the sky doesn’t open up.

The love part is what I had to overcome. I always thought people who talked to their plants were a half a bubble off center. As it turns out, they know what’s up. Each day I greet all of my plants and check on them to see how they are. I am amazed at the difference this makes. Positive attention is really all that is required. If you’re interested, you can watch this silly video to see what I mean.

Even with all of this growth, I am still lacking in the self confidence department. When Prince Charming gave me the roses, I was terrified. I wasn’t sure I was ready for something so precious and beautiful. He assured me that I had what it takes to keep it healthy and happy. And he was right, so far, so good.

The parallel was not lost on me.

I felt a bit terrified when he and I began seeing each other. I wasn’t sure I was ready for something so precious and beautiful. He assured me that we have what it takes to keep things healthy and happy. And he was right, so far, so good.

It’s true that things don’t come to you until you are ready for them.

Learning to give of myself isn’t always easy. Having a commitment to care for another can feel like a big task, especially when my track record isn’t so great.

And then I remember, it’s just water, sunshine and love.

My past doesn’t define my future. I am learning and growing each day and letting my plants and our relationship do the same. How ridiculous would it be to tug on the leaves and stems? The key is to give freely, and not to force anything. And when everything is blooming, to relax and enjoy the beauty it brings to life.

Thanks for reading, until next time,


Me and my ___ thumb

It’s spring time… which doesn’t mean the same thing in Florida as it does everywhere else. It’s not like we’ve been freezing or shoveling snow for months. It really means more traffic and crowded everything. But still, spring inspires gardening and flowers and such. Soon it will be too hot to exist sans air conditioning and we will be banished inside. Now is the perfect time to do outdoorsy things, such as napping in one’s hammock. Here, let me demonstrate.

IMG_6492While I have perfected this part of the great outdoors, I have not perfected gardening. Not even a little bit. It’s been said that I have a black thumb. It’s bizarre. I mean, my dad is a farmer. Not like a couple of acres somewhere to play on. He is a legit farmer with many hundreds of acres, you guys. This man who shares his DNA with me has made his entire adult livelihood from growing things (are there adoption papers I don’t know about?). My plant care / growth skills are the worst. Silk has been my only hope. As green as his thumb is, mine is definitely not.

IMG_4784Until now. My friend Pat wanted to help beautify my new place with some fresh landscaping. A reasonable and logical fear is that I will kill it all dead. It would then be considered premeditated murder knowing their unlikely survival. I suggested we start small, like maybe a couple of potted plants to see what happens.

outside houseAnd look what showed up on my front lawn? These stunningly gorgeous (and enormous) pots! And the flowers to go in them. Hibiscus, Geraniums and Petunias. These are huge and beautiful and exactly what I would have picked out and paid for if I didn’t have a rap sheet for being a plant murderer. And he stumbled across them for free, just for me. How fabulous!

But now the pressure is on to keep these babies watered and happy. It’s so hard, but for three whole weeks now these happy and bright blossoms greet me when I arrive at my front door.

With my expression of gratitude, I confessed my doubt in my ability to keep these precious plants alive. Pat reassured me when he said, “Listen sis, your dad’s a farmer. I have faith that you can do this. It’s in your blood.”

You see, sometimes our friends have more faith in us than we have in ourselves.

In so many other areas in my life, I am walking on new roads and in new ways. Previous choices and habits and ways of thinking are largely gone. With this new season, I get to choose what I will try (again). One of my favorite people on the planet, Jen Hatmaker, says in her latest book, Of Mess and Moxie, “You don’t have to be who you once were.” This is just one reason that I love her so much. It’s permission to start fresh.

It’s true. I don’t have to have a black thumb for the rest of my life. Yes, I’m busy, but surely I can water plants. It’s not that hard. It’s a simple matter of paying attention. If I want to have dazzling blooms outside my front door, then I can. Especially when I have good friends with enough faith in me to deliver them, pots and all.

IMG_6524I don’t have to let my past define my future. And neither do you. Bloom brightly!

Thanks for reading, until next time,



What’s that smell?

Ahh….the good ole hint of whatever it is…

Whether cleaning out the frig, or knowing something is a bit off with an engine, it’s important to have a discerning nose. And isn’t it amazing that a scent can transport us back in time? That is what happened to me this week.

I grew up on farm. If you know anything about farming, you know that one also needs to be mechanical because things break down. Since there isn’t any money to be made by farming, hiring a repairman is pretty much the last thing any smart farmer will do. My dad was a diesel mechanic in the Army, so he can fix anything from a toaster oven to a bulldozer, and all things in between. This skill has served him well which is why he is still farming and not bankrupt.

My dad was a wise parent as I was growing up. He taught me how to do things for myself. Mechanical ability isn’t exactly an area of giftedness that I share with him. I was forced to learn how to change a flat tire, my own oil (and filter, thank you) and other routine things with my car. It’s not my thing, but if I was in a pinch, I could probably manage those tasks myself. I’m grateful I have not been in many pinches and try to avoid them at all costs.

But what’s amazing is that the whiff of a tool shop or car repair place will completely throw me back to dad’s garage. Recently I stopped at a parts store to pick up some necessities. I will intentionally not ask for help right away, trying to find whatever it is I need on my own, just to prolong my time in this greasy mechanical territory. I just love the smell and the memories it carries of time spent with my dad.

This particular shop is more wholesale and not so much retail. Their typical customers are professional mechanics and other socket jocks. While I was waiting for the sweet little man to return with my requested items from the back, a manager emerged and noticed me standing at the counter. He asked if I was being helped, and I replied, “Yes, thanks.”

Then he gave me an odd look and said, “You smell good.” I think I blushed, but I did manage to thank him. He said, “We don’t get that in here too often.” Wow, ok then, thanks Bath and Body Works Lotion. I thought I was just correcting all the skin damage from my time at the beach lately. I didn’t realize I was improving the environment!

It was definitely a keen observation on his part. This time of year, most of the fellas that drag in there have probably been sweating under a car lift. Mix that with the permeation of grease and other essences, and it’s definitely manly. Not exactly the French Lavender and Honey I was sporting that day.

Paul talks about this in Corinthians. Not auto parts stores or body lotion, but the pleasing aroma of Christ. And how our presence – hopefully representing God’s love and grace –
should have an influence when we are around. When it does happen, I think it may resemble this little incident. That people would take notice of something that’s distinctive, something that stands apart. That whole aroma thing is a difference worth making.

Thanks for reading…happy sniffing…