I’m totes an amateur gardener. I’ve been working towards conquering gardening for maybe… 5 years now? I started out when we were BA-ROKE thinking that it would be a “cheaper and easier way to feed my family”, which sends me into hysterical laughing fits now. Gardening is anything BUT cheap and easy. It is WORK and MY-LANTA do I still have a ton to learn.
This past spring I finally decided to do a major redesign of my garden. The previous owners of our house had started a million different projects and finished exactly none of them. So we have all these strange, mismatched supplies in our back yard that have just been sitting around waiting to either be thrown out or used. And since I am Frugal McGee I came up with a plan to use them to build some raised beds.
After moving A TON of super heavy bricks all over our yard, I finally came up with something fairly nice. BFF and her husband had a great idea to get dessert sand to use as a filler in the bottom of the beds and then put garden soil on top. It was a great idea in theory, but I did it wrong. I should have mixed it all up together and put way more soil on top. Hindsight, right?
Because once my plants started growing they were all comically small. I mean like seriously- miniature everything. It’s harvest time now and some things are growing larger but I’d still call this season a bust. And that’s fine- whatever. My main win was that my transplanted raspberry bush is thriving and even bearing fruit in it’s first year! So I could care less about the rest.
I had one disgustingly huge hiccup mid season: tomato horned worms. Just typing their name makes me nauseous and gag a little. Have you ever seen those? THEY ARE THE SPAWN OF SATAN HIMSELF. They look disgusting, are super heavy, and I just can’t even. I was harvesting my hilariously small grape and cherry tomatoes midseason and there they were. Everywhere. They blend in with the plant so you can’t see them until they’re right next to you. Like a horror movie.
I made Nathan kill them because again, I CAN’T EVEN. Even he said it was on the top of his “grossest things ever” list. The mere fear of these things kept me away from my tomato plants for at least a month- I even considered burning them to the ground. I’m not kidding- I had the flame thrower ready to boot. Once I mustered up the courage to face my fear, I started taking care of them again, happy to see 2 out of the 3 plants begin to thrive.
The center plant though, (my grape tomatoes) was D-E-D dead. And to tell you the truth- I didn’t really care. The grape tomatoes were about half the size of my pinky nail anyway so I chalked it up to a “learning experience” and gave up. This happens frequently in gardening for me. I try to save things and I just don’t have enough know-how so I let the dang things die. I’ve overcome my share of pests and squash mold but those horned worms DID ME IN.
This is a long, detailed story about something I’m sure you don’t really care about. But I promise I’m getting to the point.
So a few days ago, I was out harvesting. Sometimes I pretend to be a really good mom and take Ella with me so we can have something special just she and I do together. But the truth is that I really enjoy a little “harvest escape”. Time to myself where I can talk to Jesus, process, be in the sunshine and just have a quiet moment alone. And as I was picking my (finally!) large, ripe cherry tomatoes, I noticed something crazy: my dead grape tomato plant was producing. And they weren’t even microscopic tomatoes! They were just plain small! Bahahaha.
That’s when I heard Jesus whisper, “I’m harvesting something in you that you thought was dead too.”
Do you ever have those “pause” moments? This was one for me. That whisper hit me like a ton of bricks and I just stood there- hands outstretched, mid grab- for maybe two minutes straight. Just processing what the heck that could mean.
The truth is, friend, I’ve had so many dreams that have died. So many hopes that have turned into heartaches. I’m a trier- I’ll give myself that. But I also have so many unfinished things that I feel shameful about. So this whisper about “harvesting something that I thought was dead” is kind of terrifying. Don’t get me wrong- the thought of it is exciting for sure, but the Proverbs 13:12 was spot on when it says “hope deferred makes the heart sick”. And coming face to face with my sick heart just isn’t fun.
As I wait for this new crop to ripen in my soul, I can’t help but think of my soil failure this year. Fertile soil- it’s a big deal. And my greatest desire is that my life and my heart would be fertile soil for all that Jesus has for me. I don’t want to produce microscopic fruit because I was just lazy in cultivating my soil. I want to become a soul soil expert– constantly tilling the ground of my heart, pulling the weeds out and noticing when my soil isn’t thriving. I want to push offense and hangups right out my garden gate. I want to pull the weeds of bitterness and fear clean out of my heart so that when Jesus plants a dream in my soul it can really take root.
And if He wants to resurrect something in me that I thought was dead, who am I to stop Him? While I was getting ready to pull that whole plant clean out, there He was: bringing it back to life.
Suddenly I begin to feel my hope rise up.
If He can bring a man back to life, how hard is it for Him to resurrect a dream?
Then my hopes start to get a little higher.
What if He, the Master Gardener, has been tilling the soil of my heart this whole time? And finally, FINALLY the soil of my heart is starting to become fertile and thriving?
And that’s when I see Him. I see His face: smiling. I see His kindness: tilling. And I see His hand reaching towards me, beckoning me to reach out, grab His hand and run into this new adventure.
My eyes are fixed on Him as I nervously reach out and take His hand.
And then- we run.
Craft Time: Harvest Wreath
I’ve been dying to make this wreath lately, and it just feels so right with this post. I want a physical reminder that Jesus is awakening something in me and bringing something back to life. Maybe this is a stretch, but seeing things come “full circle” is encouraging to me.
It can be made any time of year, really. Just switch out the florals and color pallet for whatever season you’re in!
What You’ll Need:
- Large embroidery hoop (mine is 15″)
- Floral wire
- Suede cord or Jute
- Silk flowers + greenery (You’ll want a nice variety of size, shape and color to get a professional look)
- Hot glue
- Small weighted object (optional)
Step 1: Lay everything out. I like to set things around the wreath and decide how I want them positioned. (If you’re using the outside of your embroidery hoop, you’ll have two chunky parts of wood at it’s closure. Take the bolt out and hot glue it closed.) You’ll want to position most of your floral weight over the wood closure , but keep in mind that this might offset the weigh distribution of your wreath. More on this later.
Step 2: I have serious contentment issues, so I’m not going for a permanent wreath. But if you are- double up here by hot gluing and wrapping everything to the embroidery hoop to make sure it doesn’t get wonky. Start by wrapping the floral wire around your stem, working from the tip of your design towards the center of the wreath. I place long greenery stems first, then small detail splashes, and hold the floral pops for last.
Step 3: After I complete the first half of the wreath, I move to the other side, working again from the the opposite edge towards the center.
Wrap, wrap, wrap, wrap, wrap.
Step 4: Braid your suede cord and cut two pieces of jute, about a foot long each. Glue your suede braid to the hoop and then hide that ugliness with the jute by wrapping it around and gluing it down.
Step 5: Asses the weight distribution when you hang your wreath. If it won’t hang straight, find a small weighted object (think: magnets, small pouch filled with rice, etc.) and firmly attach it on the back side of your wreath, hidden behind your greenery. This will help the bottom hang…. on the bottom.
I Glued some magnets onto some popsicle sticks… I totes #keepitclassy.
Step 6: Hang and remember that Jesus really does finish what He starts in you. Is there a dream in your heart that you have been getting ready to have a funeral for? Pause a moment and ask Him what He wants to do with it instead.