Cleanse Me With Hyssop

Last year, I got a couple of hyssop plants on bargain-basement sale at Lowes. I think they were just $1. Only one survived the winter, and I've been really pleased with it! (see below) The spring leaves emerged really early, a bright-light green color, and the plant has grown to small bush size - much larger than its first season here. It does lean a little, which I find annoying, so I decided to prune some of the weight buy taking off the largest blooms from the top.

I have, and you probably do too, scripture bits floating around in my head. Very few references, of course, just pieces that I've read or heard or memorized. Like the one that floats by every time I walk the garden and see the hyssop:
The plant smells amazing - pungent, citrusy and bold; similar to lavender, except not as floral. It smells ... rounder, if I can use that word to describe an aroma. Anyway, having just clipped a big pile of the stuff, I decided to try it out. 
Yes, I'm extremely literal. 
I rubbed big fistfuls up and down my sweaty, yardwork-grimed arms, thinking - cleanse me with hyssop.

And for a little while I did smell wonderfully like hyssop, and some of the sweat and grime was wiped away. Surprisingly, it only lasted about fifteen minutes before it was gone completely! Not a trace of that strong, clean smell lasted!

I plunked some stems into a vase and was reminded that only Jesus' blood can truly clean - and not my smelly, sweaty outside, but my truly sin-soiled soul. The hyssop is a beautiful Old Testament foreshadowing of what was to come.
You can read all the biblical hyssop references here.
For more on O.T. foreshadowing read Hebrews 9.



On our recent Mental Health Day in Lebanon, OH, we moseyed through the shops, enjoying each other's company and browsing among old things. When short on cash, PhotoBuys hold me over. By taking a photo of the things I'd certainly buy if I had loads of $, I feel like I got it in some small way.

Oh, so cool jadite salt and pepper shakers. I really almost bought these. They almost match my kitchen cabinets exactly.
Probably should've bought them - yes...
A ceramic pie bird to 'sing' when the center of the pie is boiling. Oooh, I would love to have him in my kitchen, singing from a blueberry pie right now!
My Grandma had a sewing basket just like this one. I used to spend hours sitting with it, fingering the things inside. Would've loved to have had hers - guess someone else got it. Someday, though, I'm going to really buy one and fill it with my own stuff.
Who can resist cake tins? This one would be just right to carry a 4th of July
super-tall jam cake to a picnic.
We did gift ourselves this for our anniversary, though:


Just Words - "Holy!"

There is a young man in our church who I think about alot. He is extremely physically handicapped. And although his body is crippled up, shrunken and twisted, he is said to be 'sharp as a tack' mentally. (that saying should be the subject of another post) I'm not sure why, but he always sits on the very front row of seats. His walk up (or down) that long aisle becomes a grueling progression as he struggles against the force of gravity - as he tries to control his completely uncontrollable limbs. I want to hold his gaze and smile encouragement to him as he passes, but for me, it's been impossible to NOT avert my eyes in awkward embarrassment. Not that he would notice, really, since all his concentration is focused on remaining upright and in forward motion. So I've prayed for him as he passes, knowing that our God's arm is not too short to heal him as even as he struggles along the aisle on a Sunday morning! Right before our eyes- in the presence of all, that astonishing miracle would be so welcome!

But it hasn't happened yet.

Now this is the scandalous part that keeps tapping me on the shoulder:
This man who can scarcely feed himself, who can hardly walk or speak intelligibly, who can barely control his movements at all - he worships the Lord with his whole heart! I hear his voice - the whole congregation hears his voice as he calls out "Holy!" in the midst of corporate worship. It causes me to bow my head in shame! I, who enjoy health and wellness, do not worship with this depth of spirit or truth. How ironic is that? Just think - just meditate on that with me! That one so afflicted worships with enough zeal to disgrace the many, many healthy.

Lord, allow me to be inspired by this man into deeper relationship with You. Lord, please grant that this precious, costly example of your Great Mystery might bear fruit to benefit all.




It's so sad when things just don't fit anymore!

(My Youngest, about to 'bust' the ropes on the baby swing --- which we don't need anymore! He's the family comedian...)

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Blooming - Under the Tree

The garden is preaching again! I never feel alone in the garden. It's almost like I've got a whispering Tutor at my elbow, pointing and teaching my foolish heart about life as I clip, weed or sow. The Holy Spirit murmurs bits of wisdom to me, and if I've got an ear open to hear, then I occasionally learn something.

Weeks ago, I began the task of digging up a big patch of  tiger lilies, giving some breathing room to a gasping bunch of iris. Now, I'm a big fan of these vigorous, weedy perennials. They're bold and sturdy, never needing to be watered or hardly even tended. And they never need staking, which I loathe. They do spread though, and that's why I was digging them up. Alot of them went on the trash pile, but the nicer clumps were thrown in a spot of deep shade, under a tree, to wait for a new home. I tried to give them away, even facebooked them, but no one wanted them.

When I was out cutting flowers weeks later, my eye caught this waving stem of buds. No way! Those discarded, unwanted plants laying over there in the open --- blooming! No water, no soil, hardly any sunshine --- and they are still blooming!
That. Is. Amazing.

How many people are that tenacious? Who of us could still bloom in life when dug up and tossed aside? Who, without constant attention (pruning, watering, fertilizing), could still put up a long stem of summery beauty, bringing the Creator glory?

"Be like the tiger lily," whispered my Garden Tutor.

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."


A Snubbing ... Or Not?

Would you run to the middle of this alley, touch that box, then run back out? On our recent Mental Health Day, Dear Husband assigned me this task as 'punishment' for snubbing a dear elderly lady who was taking out her trash as we walked by. I didn't mean to snub her, of course you know I was dying to step into her screened-in porch and chat a while. At least a dozen questions were poised on the tip of my tongue! But there she was, living smack-dab in the middle of a tourist town, trying to do her household chores in privacy. So I imagined, as I forced myself to walk by without ogling her from the sidewalk. Not so My Wonderful Man, who smiled, waved, and exchanged greetings with her. Out of earshot, he asked, "Why did you snub that sweet old lady???" (You must imagine his most disappointed/mocking/horrified voice.) He rejected all my explanations regarding privacy and assigned this task as an act of atonement: run down that alley and touch that box. I've lightened the photo so you can see the box, but it was much darker and scarier than this. It was!

Did I do it?
Would you have?

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Teen Mantis

(Oh, no, Kate - It's another bug post!)

I noticed this praying mantis in the banner grass while working in the garden last week. I'm not really all that buggy, OK - just a little, but this guy was really noticeable! This bad boy had some attitude! So tiny, just a mantis teen probably, but he did some major chest-thumping when I bumped his grassy territory one too many times. My eye finally caught him as he was springing around from blade to blade near my shoulder, all on the defense. All "Are we 'bout ta do dis?", with a little "Are YOU bumpin' ME???" thrown in. And look how he's still keeping his eye(s) on me, even with his back turned.
Starting this post, I thought I'd compare the mantis to a jedi - he's so cool, and in charge - thinking himself completely omnipotent. Master of his own universe. But....
It's definitely a teenage praying mantis.


Overflowing Vases

Company was coming, but I was doing this:

Sweat and snakes not withstanding, it's a great way to spend an hour (or two) - out in the garden cutting flowers.

Yes, EVEN if the bathrooms are still not ready for guests.
Those colors!


Funny Noises

Uncle Keith and My Youngest enjoying a family gathering at the picnic table.
Why are funny noises such an important part of the fun among guys?
My Youngest is great at making these noises,see below.

False look of disgust from Uncle Keith.
My Youngest being innocent.

Then it begins again.
It never ends, really, in a houseful of men.