Monday, October 3, 2011

Ah...the Garden...

In response to a favorite blogger's challenge  - Faith Barista Bonnie Gray - has given, I'm going to post here daily, in addition to whatever else God leads me to blog about...

Today's topic was which of the 3 habitats that God originally created for us to find, am I longing for most TODAY:

a garden (beauty)

relationship (community)

1-1 friendship with Him (intimacy)

In my life, God has blessed me ABUNDANTLY with COMMUNITY (especially when I compare it to the 19 years I spent wandering in the Ozarks). In preparing for my upcoming trip, I have been surrounded by opportunities and challenges to draw nearer to Him, so my INTIMACY is not lacking (and in His perfect timing, we started a new series of teaching in church, on Intimacy With God!). But, OH, the Garden in my life is lacking...and even though it excites me to see the cool-ness of fall temps coaxing out the colors of fall... I'm too busy to enjoy them...to soak them in... I need a garden...so below is the response I put on her page...
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OH - a GARDEN - literally - not "just beauty".

Two things that draw me into intimacy with God...
     1.   WATER (i.e.: ocean, lake, river, creek, rain, fountain, bathtub..)
     2.   GARDEN (i.e.: rich dark dirt, laden with worms, flowers, trees, privacy, or anything in the process of...)

I KNOW where the water is, and where it's not. My local sources are the Ohio River, the pond at Audubon State Park, the fountain in my back yard (soon to be drained because of freezing temperatures), and my bathtub. I grew up near, and LOVE the Pacific Ocean, and I know where it resides -  but it's reserved for very special days. My hubby treated me to a few days on the Gulf Coast last winter - a real splurge, and God has gone over and above all my expectations when a service trip scheduled to serve and assist our Global Workers in North Africa recently disclosed that (gasp) we'll be staying on the Mediterranean! CRAZY!! Again, a time that I thought that I was going to bless others will end up blessing and filling me!! Gosh, I love how He works that out!!

And then there's the GARDEN. My back yard is full of ...nothing. Soil - well, if you want to call it that....it's really tricky that way. It looks like clay, but when it gets wet, it becomes quicksand! SERIOUSLY!! I've had my foot stuck in it, and it sucked my shoe right off my foot!! Grass (that my Jack Russell Terrier, Abbey the Wonderdog, loves to dig in), which also hides the puddles - because, much to our dismay, the neighborhoods' water runs down the hill into our backyard, and across the back of it - it is worn down like a riverbed, and across the side fence - where the gate is, of course - and it becomes a small lake. Not the kind of lake that acts as a water feature and soothes the spirit. sigh.

When we bought the house we saw the floor plan we loved, and a backyard full of opportunities. We thought of the qualifiers, "You can't change the footprint of the house or the neighborhood", and failed to see that all the neighbors in back of us can see directly into our yard (they sit uphill from us), and that the few things growing were dangerous or prolific - as in they take over the growing spaces and hold them hostage.  We're making baby steps, as I dutifully pull out the wild things, donate them to others with bare-er yards than I, and Dear Hubby tears out the shrubs that are placed in weird places, as if they were a security system, blocking windows and doors.
at least our canoe is not there any more! :) 

Slowly, but surely, my vision for a private garden draws me in. I'm learning the nuances of the sun cycles and what likes to grow where....like the hostas along the house REALLY don't like to grow there in late summer, when heat is at it's peak and everything  else overtakes them, but the newly planted redbud tree loves it's new location where I imagine I'll be able to watch its changes in season and monitor the birds as they build nests in it's branches in spring. The arbor vitae along the back fence is taking root, now topping the fence by height, and although we couldn't convince the building dept. to allow a permit for us to put up a storage shed in one corner (water run off and under the power line),  we plan to landscape in more trees, and turn the water ditch into a dry bed...mimicking a creek with our occasional heavy rains. We don't have a plan settled on for the side run off, but we continue to pray and study it each time we get stuck in the mud.

one ugly yard! this will be a dry bed someday!

Notice the lack of privacy

morning glories on the fence 
OH, and the flowers are growing!! The iris I planted when we first moved in (in the wrong season, and the wrong places I found out later), are getting moved this fall (right time AND to the right places). We continue to clean out areas of ugly shrubs, and plant much appreciated grass (that hubby loves to not have to mow around!). We'll keep enough flat yard space to allow a swingset or play area, but I'm looking forward to the day that I walk out the back door and see nothing but flowers. AH. I can imagine it in my mind's eye. Quiet times with God on the back patio, coffee in hand, morning glories going crazy (already growing from a friend's shared seeds on an impromptu fence we put up), water running through the jar fountain that runs there, wind chimes from the neighbor's house...

I hope that it turns into another place to practice hospitality...guys enjoying the sights as we BBQ...kids chasing butterflies that come to visit, all of us enjoying God's creation within the confines of our yard.

Yes, I seek the garden....