Surprise Bloom

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Gardening is one of my favorite parts of Spring and Summer. I love watching
the dead of Winter stripped away and replaced with new sprigs of green peek-
ing up through the soil.

And sometimes I spot surprises that I didn’t physically plant myself.
Helped along by birds or a seed-scattering breeze, those plants often become my favorites
of the season.

This year, though, I noticed two tall, leafy plants hugging the fenceline.
I had no idea what they were or where they came from, but kept an eye on
them to see whether they were some oddball weed, or a volunteer plant. I
was puzzled by their uniform size. Asked my husband if we had planted some-
thing I’d forgotten. Nope, he said. Must be another garden surprise.

Then I saw it – a single pale pink peony. And like someone waking up from
a deep sleep, things became crystal clear.  Last summer, I’d bought two peony plants that
were sitting on a sales table at a peony farm. We were on the way to the car
and decided to try to save those poor wilted plants. Who can resist a good plant sale?

I’d followed the tag’s instructions, planting each of them in a hole twice as deep and wide as their root-choked pot. I fed them with plant food and checked them every couple of days. Made sure to keep them watered, but not too often. Unfortunately, they shriveled into a flat heap among my flowers, where I let them turn crispy brown and forgot about them.

Until this Spring!

Life isn’t always what it appears to be. On the surface, we might make snap decisions about a situation or person or give up in the face of disappointment. But I’ve learned that for every circumstance there’s a backstory–details that are sometimes known only to God.  He works behind the scenes, bringing new life from seemingly wasted years. He holds all the details, working at changing hearts, attitudes, and relationships.

While we fret and wonder when, how, and why, God’s busy making all things new.My job isn’t to figure it out, but to look expectantly for the surprise bloom.

And be grateful when it appears.

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Childlike Wonder


“Nature herself makes the wise man rich.” – Cicero, Roman author, orator, & politician (106 BC – 43 BC)

In years past, I’d be flocking to our local nursery about now to buy flowers and veggies for our summer garden. Not this year, though. A friend gifted us with a greenhouse she no longer needed. We set it up in a sunny spot, covered it in special plastic, and were fortunate to be on the receiving end of used wood planks from a neighbor who had torn down a backyard shed. The wood made perfect shelving! For the first time in my adult life, I was able to plant seeds and watch them spring to life within just a few days in that balmy environment. I now have containers of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and flowers that didn’t come from a plant nursery. I’m in gardening heaven!

There’s something of the miraculous in every little planter in that greenhouse. First a tiny green leaf emerges…unfurls itself like a newborn unfolding its arms for the first time. I shouldn’t be surprised, not really, because I know that’s how God planned his world; yet each new starter plant thrills me like I’ve never seen the process before.

And you know what? I hope I never lose that sense of childlike wonder.