Friday, June 12, 2009


I almost laugh at myself when I look at the picture above. You know why? Because I thought it looked sort of nice! I planted the snapdragons and alyssum such a long time ago and felt pleased as punch when these annuals just kept on truckin' through winter. Sometimes the alyssum plant themselves in the most delightful places - in between the bricks, in other flower beds - oh, they're so sweet! So yeah, some of the under parts looked kind of brown and ugly, and there were some ugly, dead leaves in between the flowers, and the snapdragons had certainly seen better days, but still - flowers! How bad can flowers be?

Well, yesterday I was in a foul mood and thought a trip to the home center was in order. We needed new plants, I'd decided. We picked some and that very evening, Caris and I set to work on our little beds. We yanked those snapdragons and alyssum and every other mysterious thing growing in there. I went around the corner to deposit all the yuck into our green waste, and when i came back Caris had done the most amazing thing! She had cleared the first bed of all the debris and in its place was rich, dark brown soil. Gorgeous! There is nothing like a clean slate!

We dug and pulled roots and threw snails and pinched earwigs and sweated and pulled plants from their pots and look what happened!
Just like that, we have a whole new look! Why didn't we do this before? The flower beds look loved and tended and are such a more inviting walk up to our front door than the worn-out flowers of yesterday.

It wasn't until I saw these pictures on my computer that the Lord whispered something deeper than flowers to me.

A few days ago, you may have been unfortunate enough to read a mama-bear-gone-wild moment on my blog. I broke my "never post anything negative about people you know" rule and flamed someone in our life. Someone who is actually very special to us as a family.

It didn't look ugly to me. It looked real and true, and I felt it deeply. But looking back, it was uglier than ugly. It was full of thorns and absolutely no grace whatsoever. I furthered the damage in e-mail, again thinking that my words maybe weren't pleasant to hear but that they were justified.

It wasn't more than an hour until the Lord used two of my friends to steer me back to reality. At first I fought their wisdom. But then, like water seeping down into my new flowers, the truth started to sink in. I had no right to spout off like I did. A person made a mistake, and I hadn't even given him time to correct it. I spend a pretty good portion of my days teaching my children Biblical conflict resolution, and boy did I blow it when conflict blew MY way!

I sent an apology, and I hope my friends will forgive me, but I have been in serious inner turmoil for two full days. When we sin, there are consequences, and mine is knowing that I hurt people I care about. When I woke up this morning I reached for my Bible and searched for "shame". God led me to words that I desperately needed in Psalm 34. Here are snippets.

1 I will extol the LORD at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.

2 My soul will boast in the LORD;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.

3 Glorify the LORD with me;
let us exalt his name together.

4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.

5 Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.

6 This poor man called, and the LORD heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.

8 Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

12 Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,

13 keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking lies.

14 Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

Just like my flower bed do-overs, I see now that I can have an attitudinal do-over too, in a way. I can return my thoughts to the Lord and his faithfulness, and from my heart of love for the Father may there be an overflow to those around me. I hope my "after" shot is half as pretty as my flowers are!


  1. Emillllllyyyyyy!!!!!! You did it! You and Caris accomplished your years'-long goal of snazzying up your backyard! It's beautiful! Good job!

  2. Ok, can you tell I commented on the pictures before reading to the very end??? lol.... I loved your lessons learned! The humility, your longing to make peace with all men, and the ability to share openly and honestly and to the glory of God. All I can say is, we've all been there, and now we all can get this refreshment course! Thanks.

  3. I feel like I need a do-over of my whole life lately... not to mention my blog... sigh.

  4. You know, this is a favorite with a friend of mine going through tough stuff. This is a great chapter in an amazing book!

  5. That's what I love about teaching. Every year you get a do-over. Your do over garden is lovely. I love flowers. They add joy and beauty without saying a word.