Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Tag

Germinating Seeds of Faith   4 comments

Matthew followed his grandfather out to the old barn. The water line was still visible, its sides warped, leaning from storm damage and the dark, humid interior emanating a dank smell of fertilizer, peat moss, tools and tractor.

“Grandpa, it smells like the pond after the flood. You know…when it receded and left a lot of rot and stuff down along the banks?”

“Yes. But we’ll start by propping open that fallen door and letting in some sunlight and fresh air. Then we can start cleaning up what is salvageable to use again. The tools and tractor are not too severely affected by the flood waters, but the mower and other things might be. I think there’s still some seed over here on the shelves that we might be able to use to plant another crop if it is not too wet or decayed.”

They opened a damp, limp bag, still sealed but smelling like rotting wet hay. “Whew. It smells like… my dead frog.” Matthew said.

“Yes, I guess it does. I’m sorry about your frog.” Grandpa stuck his hand down in the bag, sifting the contents through his fingers testing the texture for signs of any moisture. “It feels dry enough to try. Shall we? It’s corn seed.”

“Plant it? I don’t know. The bag got pretty wet.”

“Yes, but it’s been sealed shut, so nothing else could get in to spoil it, or ruin the contents. You know, Matthew it’s kind of like the scriptures you learned in your bible lessons, about the parables of Jesus, the way he taught his disciples about planting good seed that grows deep in good soil that is cultivated, plowed and watered. The seeds yield a good harvest because they are like the words of Jesus planted in our heart, our soul. They are sealed in, but they don’t stay there if they’re to do any good.”

“I know Grandpa. but when things get ruined or spoiled how can we expect anything good to come from it? And this seed was not even in the ground yet before the storm. Talk about good irrigation!”

Grandpa laughed. “Matthew, do you have just a grain of faith that it will work, that we can make our garden grow? It only takes one seed to grow a plant until ripe for harvest. Don’t you think we can see an acre of corn grow from this one bag of seed? Do you remember the parable about the mustard seed? It only takes one seed, one grain to produce.”

“Yes, I remember. Well, you’re a farmer. A good one. If anyone can do it, you can.”

“Maybe, but, it’s not what I can do, but what God can do with my seed because of my faith. Now, it’s time you learn what a seed can do that has survived a flood with washed out crops. Like those words of Jesus you’ve learned in the parables, that what we see, what we hear, what we plant, what we grow is rooted in a firm foundation, and in this case it is initially the soil that is our foundation; planted, cultivated and prepped to produce a good crop. It is what we do with what we have that builds our faith.”

____________________

Joyce E. Mannhalter © June 2020

Footnotes: scripture references for the above fictional parable are as follows.

[Luke 6:49] NIV

But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed, and its destruction was complete.”

[Mark 4:3] NIV

“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. [Mark 4:8] Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”

A Time to Plant

I ask the Lord

What is it You want of me to do?

Is it the season in my life for new seed?

To break new soil and prepare to plant,

or the time just to nurture that which grows?

And to God, I’ll say, “I’ll do it later, just not today.”

But, if tomorrow doesn’t come

and all I have is remorse and regret

that I took not the time to plant those seeds

and nurture your garden, and it turn to weeds,

for the harvest is great, and cannot wait,

I gave it no attention; it cries out and pleads

for there were times when I just turned away

and said, “Let another plant that seed,”

and I turned not my heart to that one in need.

But God now I ask, “Give me this day,

this moment, this season, this time, and a way

that I might find in one new soil I pray,

to plant the seed of love in one

that becomes a part of the harvest to come

in a new time and season nurturing me.

______________________

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: vs. 2…a time to plant and a time to uproot…” NIV This is one of my favorite scriptures in the Old Testament and the inspiration for the poem above. There is always a season and time to plant good seeds and reap a harvest of good fruit sewn. I Cor. 13:13, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 

Joyce E. Johnson © 2018

Farewell to Summer’s sweet end

 

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Summer shies away

while autumn draws nigh and cool

I bid sad farewell

To the season’s warm sweet smells

Of late August blooms, and sigh

___________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2015


Waiting for spring

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I sit in my swing and train my eyes

to the sky as blue as a robin’s egg,

and wish for a lawn all fragrant and green

as the freshly cut flowers’ leaves and stems.

I sit in my swing and wait for spring

like two doves on a branch in the tree

waiting also for warm weather like me.

I sit in my swing and wait for spring

and let the warm sun bathe my face

thinking all the ways I will enjoy warm days

while old snow melts leaving no trace.

I sit in my swing and wait for spring

looking at the ways I can garden and bring

new life to the roots of all that lay

dormant through the winter until this May

when the scent of lilac and roses I smell

while I sit in my swing and enjoy the spring,

and listen to the choir of birds that sing.

_____________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2015

Life found where we least expect it

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Nature won’t give up

on what it breathes life into;

but comes back, stronger

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One and a half years after the disastrous flood of September 2013 in our town in northern Colorado we have amazing sights that surprise us like this old cracked tree stump that was surrounded by destroyed trees and washed out trails, roads and demolished buildings. But, last summer while on the walking trail we spotted this old tree stump cut down where others had been trimmed or uprooted from the flood, many that literally floated down the raging river during the flood. Thinking the tender green shoots were growing up from the ground near it, I decided to get a closer look at it and found that they were actually growing from out of the cracks or crevices in the stump. I was glad I had my camera along.

I was immediately reminded of a favorite scripture in Job 14: 7 of the Old Testament that says, “At least there is hope for a tree; if it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail.” (NIV) And I thought about how often I had given up on dreams or things in my life because I felt as if they were ‘dead in the water’, like the trees that washed away in the flood, or having been cut down of ever producing any life or fruit again. But, God’s word is true. It is the same promise for today as it was in the days of Job, and there is the faith and hope that new life, new growth can begin again and we will bear new fruit.

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

Daring to be different

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A single pink rose bloom on my white rose-bush

Daring, different

From all the rest this pink rose

Shyly opens up

~~~~~~~

I have several rose bushes in my back yard of different colors; red, pink, and white. The single pink bloom here is the only one among the white or ivory colored blooms on this bush and seemed remarkable as we watched it develop and bloom.

It reminds me of the ways in which I felt different growing up. My friends had blue eyes, blond hair, had common names like Kathy or Linda, and were considered ‘cool’ and ‘popular’. I had brown hair, brown eyes, a less common name, was quiet and more the introvert. They had bicycles of their own. Mine belonged to my sister. They all made A’s and B’s in school. I barely passed on C’s. Their fathers had good paying careers and jobs. My father was a church pastor barely able to provide for a family of two parents with four kids. Did I resent that? No. My life was just different from everyone else’s. Sometimes I thought it unfair, and grumbled; until I realized it was I who needed an adjustment, and an attitude of gratitude with a thankful heart.

About the blue-eyed, blond-haired girls; back then, I wanted to be like them; until I learned that brown hair and brown eyes could be romantic and mysterious; all in the brown eyes of the one beholding such beauty.

The bicycle that wasn’t mine? I rode it everywhere throughout my childhood until the day I could afford to buy my own.

My low grades? Well, I learned that what I lacked in confidence and ability in some things I could achieve and excel in others. So, I worked at those things I could do well in; writing, music and art.

And my father who was a church pastor; well, he worked long days and sometimes nights ministering to people with love, humility, grace, compassion, forgiveness and a thankful heart. His lessons on life he taught his children, as well as those in his congregation.

What I learned? It isn’t how much we have, or what we’re born with that is important, but what we do with what we’ve learned; believing in ourselves and knowing it’s OK to be different, blooming where we are planted.

________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

When a weed is not really a weed

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Things don’t just happen

without good reason; sometimes

It’s meant for us in

due season, when God allows

weeds to grow in our garden

 

they often come at

times when we’re the least prepared

while tending all else

in our life that matters most

but it’s weeds that test our faith

________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

Posted June 25, 2014 by Joyce in My Photos, My Writings, Nature Walks, Photography, Poems, poetry

Tagged with , , , ,

‘Parable’ of the honey bee


Parable of the honey bee

 

Clinging to life it holds on, but failing, its wings heavy from the pollen it carries it offers up;

Others hover near gathering their own and wait respectfully, knowing its fate.

When it’s time the bee succumbs, and others carry on producing what they know to do.

The life of the bee is short; their purpose vital, crucial to the environment.

It is nature’s way, a part of God’s perfect plan.

Like the common bee we live our lives too, within a span of time.

We gather what is important to us. But, it is what we offer up that is the essence

of God’s spirit in us, as a sweet nectar, and aroma that permeates the land.

________________________

Scripture reference – 2 Corinthians 2:15 (NIV translation)

Footnotes:  The above photo is one I took in my back yard garden while watching this bee as it died. I have a good friend who has a bee hive operation as a hobby and watched him at work with his bees. I became very interested in the things I learned about bees, more so than in the past when careful to stand away from them and not be stung. The recent experience while watching and studying bees inspired me to write this ‘parable’, a short devotion about the things we have in common with a mere honey bee, and whether we seek for ourselves those things most important to us, or whether we ‘offer up’ and give back what matters most; our relationship to God, to others, and to our world in general. I love reading the stories and parables in Matthew that Jesus taught his disciples and thought the bee story made a good illustration to use. Comments on this story are welcome, as always with my stories, posts and poems.

Joyce E. Johnson © 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Nurturing what we plant

Like seeds planted and

nurtured, our fruit is known by

that which feeds our soul.

________________

Joyce E. Johnson  (2014)

April rains and spring flowers (Day 15 of NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Writing Month)


April brings showers

The fresh scent of falling rain

And new spring flowers

___________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

Succulent Flower


Succulent flower

The bee hovers in mid-air

Gathering pollen

____________

Poem by: Joyce E. Johnson (2013)

Photo credit: Thomas Wayne Johnson (2013)

Note: The bush this flower grows on is covered in these beautiful flowers in mid-summer.  I wanted a photo with a close up  of a honey bee for the haiku poem, and for my ‘writings’ scrapbook with another of my bee poems, recently published, so sent my husband Wayne out to get a shot of it with his camera, and he was able to get a good close up of one here. It was perfect.  🙂

Making mud pies


From mud pies to gardening I still love to play in the dirt. There are lots of ways to enjoy nature and the great outdoors. Sixty years ago when I was six my mom would give me her old canning jar lids, spoons and bowls to play with in the dirt out beside our house. And of course there was my little ‘oven’ to bake them in: a cardboard box. My ‘cooking and baking’ process was simple. I started with the ‘freshest ingredients’ I could find; what I called ‘clean dirt’ and pulled out the unwanted things like weeds, little bugs or rocks, if any so my pies would be smooth and edible (for me that is). Once I had mixed just the right amount of water with the right amount of dirt I tasted my mixture to test its consistency, then if satisfied I patted them down into the lids and baked them in a hot, slow sun. When dry, I emptied my lids of the coarse over baked pie and would start all over again. When I told my grown girls that I ate some of my own mud pies when I was a child, they could not believe the story from one who hates insects and runs after the bug spray can at the first sight of an ant invasion. Now, when I play with my little grandchildren in the dirt planting a garden or potting flowers I can share my mud pie stories with them and let them know that a little bit of dirt does not hurt, and that mud is a part of nature, one of those things God gave us in this great big outdoors to enjoy. So, for old times sake I went outside and once again made an old-fashioned mud pie in a canning jar lid just for the fun of it, and it brought back memories of those days when I was six. So, here is a photo of my mud pie, and for certain I will show a picture of it to my grandchildren and let them know that making mud pies can be a lot of fun, and tasting them, not so bad, either. 🙂 But, I really did do quite a bit of real gardening this week too. The below photo is one of my potting projects. It was fun playing in that big barrel of dirt, too. 🙂

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Joyce E. Johnson


A seed planted…

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A seed planted, hides

In soil watered till blossomed

Kissed by the sun, grows

___________________

Joyce E. Johnson

DANDELIONS!

DANDELIONS!


Not the bloom I sought,

And too much of what I’ve seen.

Spring: It has arrived.

______________

Joyce E. Johnson, 2013

Spring Roses


Garden fresh bright red

Roses fill my crystal vase

Bringing spring indoors

________________

Joyce E. Johnson, 2013

Sunny Days


I can hardly wait

For bright sunny days to come

To plant my spring blooms

_____________________

Joyce E. Johnson

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