Archive for the ‘Gardening and Landscaping’ Category

It has been related that when the ground in London was cleared of the old buildings to make way for the new Kingsway, it lay for several seasons without use, exposed to the rain and sunshine.  After a while, naturalists were coming to view the cleared land.  A strange thing had happened and they wanted to observe.  In spots it is certain that the soil had not felt the touch of Spring since the days when the Romans sailed up the Thames-perhaps even before then.  When the blessed air and light had drenched the uncovered soil, a host of wild plants and flowers sprang up to be kissed by the sun.  Some of these flowers were never seen in England before.  But they were blooming in the Mediterranean countries at that very same time of year.  These many years they seemingly were dead, buried beneath the mass of rocks, bricks and mortar lying dormant season after season.  But they were merely obeying the laws of life under these new conditions and were blossoming into new beauty.


There is a simile here.  Every life, no matter how crushed and bruised by the cares and sorrows of circumstances, needs only to be laid bare to the sunshine of God’s love, and the healing touch of His grace.  Then a new life with new possibilities and new beauties will blossom forth in abundance, no matter how desolate the surroundings may appear.  (Taken from Streams in the Desert)


I wrote the following poem after having visited Mt. St. Helens in Washington state in 1995.  I was amazed that 15 years after the cataclysmic eruption new life was forming everywhere I gazed.  And so it is with God.  He can take the ashes and embers of a life torn by sin and tragedy and transform it into a thing of beauty.  To God be the glory!




Out of the desolation,

A tiny flower blooms.

Only months before,

Encased inside a tomb.

Buried ‘neath the rubble,

Of snow and ash and stone.

Destined to destruction.

Confined and all alone.


But now this thing of beauty,

Appears beneath my gaze.

Amidst the ruin lies splendor,

Worthy of my praise.


Out of the desolation,

How can this life now be?

Once dormant ‘neath the wasteland,

Now alive for all to see.


Who would have know that a flower,

Which everyone thought was dead,

When touched by the Hand of God,

Could bring new life instead.


Out of the desolation,

New life begins to grow.

Tis not man who does it.

But God, who makes it so.

Dead to self and sin

Will raise us from desolation

And bring a change within.

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I ran across the following writing in my devotional the other day and thought I would share it with everyone.  How easy it can be to become critical of others.  But God is no respecter of persons and is not that way.  Neither should we be.

A little seed lay in the ground

And soon began to sprout.

“Now which of all the flowers around,

It mused, “shall I come out?” 

“Then the little seed said to itself:  ‘I don’t want to be a lily, for lilies are so cold and lofty.  I don’t want to be a rose, for the rose is rather loud in color, it dies quickly, its edges wilt and it isn’t very practical.  I don’t want to be a violet, for the violet is too small, too dark and grows too close to the ground.’ “The little seed was like some people we all know.  It was critical.  It was critical of everything around it.  It found fault with all its neighbors.  It didn’t like the colors of some, the perfume of others, the size and shape of others.  It had nothing constructive to offer, even in its own behalf.  The whole theme of its life was criticism.

 And so it criticized each flower,

This supercilious seed,

Until it woke one summer hour

And found itself a Weed!

 “There has been only one faultless Person in this world, and He has promised to present all believers ‘faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy’ (Jude 24).  Until then, let each believer be a ‘flower’ rather than a weed in this scene of His rejection.”  – CMA Church bulletin 

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.  Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  Of if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.  But let every man prove his own work, and then shall  he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.  (Gal. 6:1-4) Taken from Streams in the Desert, Volume Two by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman

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Emerald Arborvitaes in our front yard

Originally uploaded by karing1960@sbcglobal.net.

With the beautiful spring-like temperatures we have been experiencing the past two weeks, Mike and I have been bitten with the planting bug. Last weekend and the one before, we visited nurseries and found several beautiful plants that we really liked. One of them is called Emerald Arborvitae.   The emerald green arborvitae is an evergreen tree with bright emerald green foliage. The emerald arborvitae can reach a height of thirty feet and have a spread of about eight to ten feet. They make an excellent screen, and can grow at a rate of about four feet per year. When young, the emerald arborvitae has a bright green color to its foliage which darkens as the plant ages. We decided to purchase 9 of these lush green plants. Right now, they are only about 3-1/2 feet tall. We have them in different areas of our front yard. Since we like to name things, we have given them the names of the nine fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance (self control). We hope that these plants will grow and thrive and that we will grove and thrive spiritually as well.

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tulips-012.jpg  About two weeks ago, I received a very lovely gift from my Secret Sister.  It happened on a Sunday morning at church.  For the past three years now, we have had a secret sister program at our church.  Whoever wants to participate draws a name from a group of other names of ladies who want to be secret sisters.  Once you draw that name, that sister is yours to cherish for a year and lavish with gifts, cards and especially prayers and encouragement.  But the catch is that this is to be done anonymously.  You are not to reveal your identity to your secret sister until the revealing banquet at the end of the year. Whatever dear sister drew my name must know that we really like flowers and plants.  For Christmas, she bought me a miniature Christmas tree that is only about 6 or 7 inches tall.  My husband faithfully waters that little tree on a regular basis.  I think he’s hoping it will miraculously grow big enough to use for his decorations next December!  But I digress.  Two weeks ago on Sunday morning, I came to church and discovered that a lovely gift awaited me from my secret sister.  When I gazed at it, I was amazed.  Inside of a glass container about a foot high were 14 tulip bulbs.  The amazing thing was that they were not planted in any dirt, but they were definitely growing. For lots of green shoots had emerged from each bulb and were proudly displaying themselves for all to see. Each bulb rested on a plastic tray with many openings inside the glass container.  Underneath the tray were all the roots from each tulip bulb.  What a sight it was to behold this!  On the container was a label that said “Long Life Tulips” ready to grow indoors. They came from a company called “Bloomaker.com”.   I went to their website, and found that Bloomaker is specialized in indoor flower products and pre-packaged flower bulbs. Tulip bulbs are given a cold treatment before they pin them on a special plastic tray. For two to three weeks the bulbs are chilled in water at their facilities in Virginia. After this chilling period they put the bulbs in the glass containers and they are ready to flower in your house. 

The first week, nothing seemed to happen with the bulbs.  But last weekend, we noticed little buds starting to open up, and on Monday morning, the first white tulip peeked her pure white head out at us.  Now it is Thursday, and in an amazingly short amount of time, all fourteen of the bulbs have bloomed.  Every morning this week, Mike and I have looked forward to checking out our “babies”.  What a thrill to see them bud and bloom, almost right before our eyes!  There’s something about seeing plants grow and bud and bloom that just tickles us inside!

  Do you think God might feel that same way when he sees some growth in us, his crown creation?  I know that God sees the end from the beginning, but I can’t help but wonder if he feels a thrill when he sees us grow spiritually or make progress in our walk with Him.  If I get the buzz I do just from seeing some flowers bloom, how must the Lord feel when he sees Karen Mester learning to exercise patience or overcoming this carnal nature and walking in the Spirit or being a blessing to someone?   May God unfold us and cause us to bloom  just as He does the flowers.

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