At First Glance

A visitor to my Kentucky acre might believe this curly willow to be dead. 
At first glance, that's understandable. 
"Just cut that down and make room for something new," 
my visitor might say and donate a casual kick. 

But, the gardener knows better than any visitor. 

Time and attention have been invested in this tree—hours of staking, 
pruning, and watering. The considerate gardener knows that 
it's a mistake to hoist or chop in haste. 

What's true in the garden also proves trustworthy in the greater arenas of life:

So, wait a while. Slow down and look the other way. 
Sometimes, not every time, but occasionally 
 when you look back, you'll find those longed-for signs of life.


Learn how to root curly willow branches here.  
I just cut a long "whip" and leave it in a bucket or a tall vase of water 
until a decent root ball forms. 


Greenhouse Dreams

In January, the greenhouse sleeps while I dream 
of sturdy basil leaves, fragrant sage, and lemony thyme. 
Pie birds sing praise of kelly-green days just over the horizon of seasons. 

Baskets of pine cones vie for attention, offering their timely 
 gift of sticky, scented sap. They demand recognition as one of 
winter's finest features. 

My greenhouse gnome is the portrait of calm patience, 
both hands folded neatly away–no work today.
His scarlet glass hat sits straight and tight with no hint of yearning for spring. 

But many days find me leaning on potting benches, 
rearranging watering cans, and browsing seed packets–
dreaming my greenhouse dreams.

Hurry, Spring!


Handmade Gifts

How do you feel about handmade gifts? 

I've always hesitated to gift my own creations, believing them to be a little bit "less than."
Less valued than store-bought; less useful than a gift card; 
less dazzling than whatever the most popular social influencer recommends--"swipe up!"

But this year, I'm feeling some freedom to give handmade. 

So this morning I handled brittle antique sheet music and forced 
myself to cut it, recalling how the pages were rescued from the trash. 

Folding tattered edges into shape took extra time, but I didn't mind, 
envisioning the final lovely outcome.

I shrugged aside qualms and pushed a wooden brace through 
centenarian page layers, taking care not to waste a single scrap of print.


That's when phrases from Psalm 103 slid into the corner of my heart.

God forms you in the same way, the Spirit seemed to hint. 
"For He knows our frame; He is mindful that we are dust." 

He knows you're often fragile, brittle, tattered.
"As for man ... your days are like grass--blooming, vanishing, forgotten."

Yet He tenderly chooses you anyway, knowing the potential for glory exists. 
"But from everlasting to everlasting the loving devotion 
of the LORD extends to those who fear Him."

In unmatched patience, He shapes, folds, and fashions you into the 
image of the blessing He intends to gift to others.
" ... we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, 
which God prepared in advance for us to do." 

And just like the psalmist, my soul rose up in joy. 
Bless the Lord ... bless the Lord ... bless the Lord.