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Posts Tagged ‘Zinnias’

zinniacrown
“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” ~ Galatians 6:9

I was in the garden with my half-hearted tomato plants, the whole-hearted cucumbers, gracefully quiet chard sitting quietly between the two, admiring the turtle-paced eggplant slowly but surely contributing enough – and coming to terms that one may be enough.

The chocolate mint is sneaking its way back in, but, then, it is a good place to be – this back yard garden. The bees and butterflies agree, but they don’t notice the chocolate mint. They’re much more interesting in the zinnias.

The zinnias at each end of the raised beds sway in the breeze, smile up at the sun, burst into yellows, pinks, reds, oranges – and a lot of whites his year. The zinnias despite their raucous petals, rays, discs and stigmas and, seemingly, breezy behavior – they always teach me something. Or maybe it’s really God teaching me through the zinnias.

zinniaorange

I’ve been thinking about this circle of life, this growing older, roles changing as needs change of both my children and older family members. In the process, I’ve been thinking about what 75, 85, 95 will look like on me. Not the petal part of aging, but the seed-planting part and harvest part – how the condition of the soul shows itself – either in waspish and testy ways, cheery and good-humored, bitterness or sweet savory, lost or found.

When my petals have fallen away, and all that remains of me as I sit on my front porch wrapped in a blue sweater are a few soul seeds left to be brushed or blown off, I want those soul seeds to be
joy-of-the-lord seeds
faith-is-the-substance-of-things-hope-for-the-evidence-of-things-not-seen kind of seeds
gentle seeds of God’s amazing love that go
soul deep
encouraging, spirit-lifting,
hands-raised high seeds
helping my neighbor seeds
holistic generosity of spirit seeds
delivered with hands and heart wide-open
so that when all is said and done,
all has been spent that could be spent
but for the crown no one noticed
in the days of petals and youth
the crown of whose I am.

Cultivating a cheerful heart given to smiling and laughing, a hope-and-faith heart, a daughter-of-the-king heart – I need to diligently cultivate that now. So, if you see me driving down the road with a crazy smile on my face, I’m practicing for 90!

“Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him” ~ Psalm 126:5-6

ziniafading

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flowergardenthere’s no lasting comfort in my wild apple ginger tea and honey,
or my Muddy Cakes, chocolate chip pancakes or scones.
none in the seed packets I so determinedly spilled out over my garden in springtime cool dazzle
or the brandywine’s ripening just red right
No lasting comfort the summer gazpacho made with my garden cucumbers and tomatoes and the farmer’s market onions and corn.
No comfort at all,
no lasting comfort, that is
in the hydrangeas that bloom blue
bloom riotously after we’d almost lost the dear beauty
in a hard challenge when we ourselves had been transplanted.
no comfort in the chocolate mint and lavender, the oregano and thyme
no, there’s no lasting comfort in them except for a fleeting pleasure,
a seasonal indulgence to satisfy a flighty temporal
but for the priceless notes and stories my Savior left in them
To remind me he is both seed time and harvest
loss and new beginnings
the potion for my healing
the faith in the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen
the refreshing in the chocolate mint, the soothing in the lavender,
and the savory of the trinity
the trust that the planting will yield
something God-worthwhile
if I but plant and tend to the God in it
no there’s no lasting comfort in these things
by themselves they are vanity
but let God into it,
and each becomes a salvation story
a lasting comfort

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harvestbasket1

“And now, God, do it again
bring rains to our drought-stricken lives
so those who planted their crops in despair
will shout hurrahs at the harvest,
so those who went off with heavy hearts
will come home laughing,

with arm loads of blessing”
~Psalm 126: 5-6.

 

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zinnias

In late May, my husband armed my youngest with a spade, charging him with the knightly duty of uprooting insurgent roots in the garden. Like any knight worth his shield, helmet and, ummm, spade, he took to the task with vigilance.

Not a green leaf or its root remained.

Three packets worth of zinnias and 3 packets of cosmos , the promise of so much summer color and charm, were heaped in a wilted pile.

Realizing the error of this zealous knight-in-training, my husband worked with him to save as many zinnias as possible – and I loved that, that my son replanted as many zinnia seeds as he could – that’s a keeper story that goes straight to my heart – and that my husband showed him how, doing it with him.

Life is like that sometimes – the work of my hands – and your hands, too- is like seeds planted. Sometimes the results grow, blossom and reap a harvest – just like seed packet directions promise.

Sometimes, though, unexpected happenings interfere with what I perceive is normal cause-effect of my actions and expectations.

Sometimes my hopes and dreams feel as if they’ve been pulled out of mylife, like those zinnia seeds in my flower bed.

. . . . and maybe they have been. . . . but if I love what those zinnia seeds stand for – then maybe. . . . just maybe. . . . I need to replant new seeds – of the same thing I’ve done over and over – and let hope and faith in a Holy Spirit rain nourish the repetitive planting of those seed dreams..

Disgruntled? Cross-eyed with frustration? Tempted to cry, “Unfair?” – You bet!

I’m learning that while seed packages have seed-time and harvest directions with 30 to 60 day results – God’s plans don’t always have such a quick turn-around – ’cause He’s growing something bigger in us than a squash, a pepper, a cosmos and a zinnia.

Dreams He planted in you and me,  before we were born do have a seed-time and harvest – but it’s all on God’s time. Just like I didn’t want to give up on my zinnias; He doesn’t want me to give up on those dreams -even if I have to do things over and over and over – and over, over, over and over some more.

Maybe my zinnia basket in August wasn’t as full as I hoped it would be – but how dear the flowers of those zinnia seeds replanted.

I could have just given up. After all, it took till almost Fall for them to bloom – the summer almost done.

. . . but I didn’t give up. . . on the dream.  I replanted, though I had to wait longer than I wanted or expected.

The zinnias brought the joy I anticipated – just like I know the dream He planted will.

“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” (Galatians 6:9)

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cosmoI stood watering my garden under the stars, in the dark. I’m a literalist. It took me awhile to understand that when the Foxfire books suggested to plant under a full moon – it didn’t mean at night under a full moon.

I stood, thinking, squinting to see my flowers in the dark, after my son’s soccer camp. My zinnias looked more organized, more in a row in the dark. It must be the dark – because I’d poured the seeds of them in my hands and released them to flutter and fall into the back of my flower bed – behind the lavender, the day lilies, purple spikes and evening primroses.

I moved next to water the cosmos behind the irises. Squinting harder, watching the water fall where I knew they were – because, like the zinnias, I’d released them. Like the zinnias, when they’d grown a bit, I’d separated them. I couldn’t see them in the dark – even the big cosmos that should have been right there.

I’d guessed it was just too dark to see when my husband wandered through the yard to where I was standing. Plant, flower and vegetable watering time seem to be our time, a walk-in-the-garden kind of time.

“Caleb weeded your garden today,” he said, laughing in his easy going way. He went on to tell me how when he’d come out to check on Caleb’s progress, the garden was emptied of all my zinnias. Nobody had even realized the cosmos was in the weed – or that there’d been cosmos in the garden.

Kindness pulled the weeds – or maybe a touch of kindness with a touch of dad-said-I-have-too – but love had planted the zinnias right back.

zinnia2The even rows under the star-light – and the patch of black empty of growing cosmos – it all became clear. I could have grabbed hold of anger and frustration – because zinnias in tiny cups, flower bowls and mason jars all over the house are one of my dearest summer-time joys. It’s hard when the work of my hands comes to nothing.

I’d learned long ago, when my first born had broken a old china tea-cup my grandmother had given me one Christmas morning, wrapped at the foot of my bed – I learned to let go of the replaceable and grab hold of the irreplaceable.

It’s a choice what we keep and what we let go. Under the stars, I chose to grab hold of an intangible gift – just the kind of moment I needed – seeds planted, roots grown and little sprigs pulled out – only to be re-planted because they knew how much I enjoyed my zinnias – all wrapped up one of those stories I’ll love telling when I’m 90.

Stop (5 minutes)

It’s a blackberry-sweet tea kind of week. Won’t you pull up a chair, pour yourself a tall glass – and join me with Lisa-Jo at her place to write about. . . release? It just takes 5 minutes.

 

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Blessings like Zinnias

pomegranate red zinnias
shaped like dahlias
thrive in Full Sun living
no shades necessary
to protect
from living its design
where planted

always reaching,
for heat and glare
cactus-shaped heliotrope purple petals
grow better
in weathering challenges

gangly,stalky stems
overlooked by whole package beauty shoppers
seeing too much imperfection to appreciate
button-shaped tangerine orange
dazzling in God’s appointed bloom time
those willing to love an imperfect creation

God-designed to withstand
a world of drought
beehive-shaped lemon yellow
blooms hope and joy
to be carried to other places
in clear mason jars, pink pottery vases,
thumb print glasses, cutglass rose bowls
set on harvest tables, welcome tables
bedside tables, porch-side tables, work tables

never blue,
zinnias bloom to seed
seeds for you and me
for tomorrow seasons
needing caring hands to harvest
and slide hope seed stories
into white envelopes
sealed and stored until
Time
To grow
Some more

 

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