Thursday, May 31, 2012
Summer is in full swing where I live.
Grasses are green,
trees are clothed in their different varieties and colors of leaves,
flowers are bursting with blossoms,
and I got to thinkin' about
Some yards are near-heavenly to gaze upon--
lush, lively, meticulously landscaped and inviting.
Some are pretty average looking--
green lawns are mowed, a shrub here and there,
but not without a few wild dandelions to keep it real.
there are those yards that are weed-filled and ragged;
bare spots of dirt, clods of grass in shaded areas,
sad-looking blankets of earth, left unattended.
It reminds me of the Parable of the Sower that is recorded
by Matthew in the New Testament, Chapter 13:
he basically tells the story of the sower who is planting seeds
and as he does, some seeds fell by the side and were eaten by birds,
some fell on stones where there wasn't any soil to nourish them,
so when the sun shone, they were scorched and withered.
Some seeds fell into thorns and weeds and were choked out.
other seeds fell into good ground
and brought forth much fruit.
After Jesus shares this parable with his disciples,
they want an explanation.
The explanation is that
people are like those seeds.
Some people don't even understand the "good news"
and are quick to be distracted.
Some people receive the gospel with joy,
but when tribulation or persecution comes,
the roots aren't there to help them not be offended.
And the one who hears the gospel message,
but is distracted by the noise and temptations of the world,
so those "thorns" choke out "the word".
then there's those seeds that are 'received into the good ground"
where the learn the gospel,
and then go on to share it,
bearing enormous amounts of good fruit.
So I've been thinking about this Season I'm in
and I'm thinking about the kind of
I've been in for most of my days.
And what I've decided is that the soil
I was "planted" in,
must be good.
I came to this conclusion this week,
when I looked at the two magazines that came in
the only two magazines I subscribe to
The Ensign (published by the LDS Church)
I'm a southern girl at heart.
I pour thru the pages of Southern Living,
first the tourism pages of favorite beaches,
then the decorated homes with luscious landscaping
of climbing roses, magnolias, crepe myrtles,
and I just haveta say that I cannot
CANNOT pass a gardenia bush
at King Soopers or Home Depot
without stopping to smell those beautiful white blossoms
that used to fill my childhood home in Florida
with their exotic fragrance.
"It's just near cruel that they even have those plants for sale here",
I lament, knowing that those same plants will be near-dead by November
up here at 6700 feet above sea level.
Anyway, I pour over the pages and
recall the brilliant flora of my
Nevermind that those plants don't grow here in the Rocky Mountains--
reminiscing about them is enough for me.
The recipe sections are my favorite part of the magazine--
the amounts and measurements of this and that
are only complimented in my mind by the notion
that these Southern recipes are meant to be
Shared with your family, your church members, your neighbors.
That's the best part of being Southern...
your world is larger than the end of your nose.
I love being from the South.
I know what it feels like to ride bareback
on back-country dirt roads with Spanish moss hanging so low,
you can swat it with your hands as you ride under it.
I know swimming holes
and swinging on heavy ropes tied around cypress trees,
even when you don't have your swimsuit on.
I know what it smells like after a rain shower,
and what a magical thing it is to see steam raising off the asphalt roads
after a July rainstorm on a Carolina afternoon.
I know the fun of buying a bright yellow western shirt,
donning a cowboy hat and saddling up to get to the Houston Livestock and Rodeo to hear Conway Twitty and eating some good, sticky "Q".
I am a former beach baby--
when Miami highways were un-crowded ribbons of grey
that beckoned us to stop the car
and run out to the foamy shorelines in our bare feet.
Those memories are good soil.
I know good Baptist barbeques,
dating the Preacher's son
and all the words to
"I Stand All Amazed".
Good Soil, right there.
My other magazine with bent corners
is the Ensign.
Pictures and testimonies of fellow travellers
from all over the world.
My sisters in Africa
who walked for nine days to get their temple recommends.
Or those members who share their journeys of faith
after the tsunami in China,
the hurricanes in Joplin, Oklahoma, and other far reaches in the world.
Wise, divine counsel from Church leaders who basically say
what I need to hear:
Heavenly Father knows and loves me.
He's in charge.
Nevermind the storms, the perils of this life,
nevermind the thorns and distractions--
dig deep into the soil I've been planted in
and grow my roots long and deep in Him.
Trust His strength and mercy.
I am here to do good and be good.
Where much is given,
much is expected.
My strengths as well as my weaknesses
are part of my story.
Part of my growing season.
I am just an ordinary gardener.
My yard has some daylilies, lilacs, sweet williams,
pansies, and a few trees too--
Aspens, Ash, Blue Spruce,
and some other pathetic trees whose names I don't know.
But there are also some rogue dandelions and other weeds that
You know you never just pull at the leaves of the intruders,
you have to get down to the roots to get rid of them.
Sometimes, trials are like that.
You have to get to the heart of those bothersome sins/weaknesses
before they go away.
My gardening skills are akin to my life skills;
Spring surprises me with blossoms that I didn't expect,
and weeds pop up too.
But the secret is to keep at it.
Pull those weeds,
nourish the good seeds,
tend to the edging,
and invite people over to share what I've been able to create.
It's that Southern blood running through me
that wants to share
grits and eggs,
Saturday morning breakfast with the missionaries,
taking chocolate chip cookies to my new neighbors,
and a dinner for a sister's family whose mourning the death
of their beloved granpa.
Is it my Southern roots or my Mormon life
that makes me a
My best days are when the house is full of family and friends,
n' we all offer prayers at the table
and share the blessings of the day with one another.
I can't help it.
It's who I am.
I am honored when missionaries call me "Mom"
and tear-up when they are leaving our home
that very last time.
I am equally attracted to those meticuluosly tended to lawns in my neighborhood,
as I am to the barren yards where even weeds are sparse.
What does that say about me?
I don't know.
People are like that, you know.
Some have more than enough
and some don't.
Charity sees what the soul needs,
I've learned that from strong Southern roots
and Mormon blossoms.
It's the soil I was planted in.
It's Growing Season here in the Rockies.
"by their fruits ye shall know them."
What about your "roots" defines you? Inquiring minds wanna know.