Those Summer Nights

IMG_3501 Fencerows

Fence Rows

The last days have been real corkers around here.  The sun has shone brightly, the wind (that ever-lasting Iowa wind) has been blowing steadily and the temperatures are a toasty 90 plus degrees. For us this is really unusual as our normal temps are in the 70s at this time of year.

The wind blowing and no rain has been pretty hard on my garden. I have had to enlist the aid of my husband, haul out the hoses, rig up the sprinkler and water everything. I typically do not water my garden. I usually wait for the rain. This season I couldn’t wait for rain. If I had; I have a feeling my tender seedlings would have just toasted to a crisp.

The constant heat and wind can be draining but there has been one upside to the overly warm days…..the nights. The nights have been cooling off… far.( I hear that is going to change this weekend and even the nights will be toasty.)

For now, I am enjoying the beautiful evenings.  There have been beautiful clouds…..big puffy white clouds, gray windy looking clouds, clouds that look like they will finally drop rain and thunderhead clouds.

IMG_3500 the Coming NIght

The Western Sky

I am amazed at the beauty that can be found in the heavens. It is wonderful compensation for the blistering hot days. It is a gift to sit on the porch, a cup of iced tea in hand and just listen to the last calls of the birds, the rustling of the leaves in the wind, and watch the sky turn from royal blue to the deep blues and purples of night.

IMG_3503 Clouds

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Psalm 19:1


It is even better to be able to sit on that same porch with someone you love! Quiet, end of day conversations can be some of the best conversations around.

IMG_3506 The West Sky

The Coming of Night


There is something magical about sitting outside in the hush of the pre-night hours. There is wonder in watching the moon rise in the darkening sky.

IMG_3509 The East Sky

Day’s End


I will try to remember the beautiful evenings that have been and that are still to come. I will try hard to keep them in mind when I am working in my garden mowing the lawn or helping my husband bale grass hay.

It is good to have the anticipation of good things to come. It is sometimes what keeps you going through the everyday stuff of life.

May this weekend find you anticipating the good things. May it find you looking forward to the wonders that are to come and not looking back at the difficulties that have been. May you be blessed, may you find joy and may you have time to enjoy the simple pleasure in life… a cold glass of iced tea at the end of a long hot day.

“There’s a sunrise and a sunset every single day,
and they’re absolutely free.
Don’t miss so many of them.”

Jo Walton

“If I can put one touch of rosy sunset into the life of any man or woman,
I shall feel that I have worked with God.”

G.K. Chesterton

Rain, Grace and the Cultivated Heart


Geraniums Prov 27 19.jpg

There is something magical about standing under an umbrella in a soft summer rain. We had a beautiful rainfall during the night and into the morning.

As I let my “girls” out for the day I stood in my backyard and just enjoyed the smell of the rain as it hit the grass, the sound as it ran off the eaves of the house; into the rain barrels, the coolness of the drops as they landed on exposed skin and the hazy, filmy look it gave everything as it washed the world clean. It was a feast for the senses. I was too busy enjoying myself; to run and get the camera.  (Some things just need to be kept in a corner of your memory to be taken out and enjoyed later.)

Soft summer rains refresh and renew. They clean the dust off the leaves and buildings that accumulate on our hot muggy days. They are cooling, nurturing and life-giving.

The soft rains remind me that softness and gentleness are always better received than harsh, in-your-face attitudes and comments. This is a lesson that is a good reminder for me as I do like to “fix” things. I need to remember that “gracious words are…….; sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” Prov. 16:24

I have seen what hard rains can do. They pelt and they hurt when you stand in them. They usually leave a mess when they are done. My husband has often commented, “Sometimes too much rain is worse than no rain at all.” And he is right.

A blogging friend made a comment about a “cultivated heart”.  I suspect that the requirements to getting one of those hearts are soft gentle rains in the form of encouragement, gently delivered wisdom from trusted friends, regular fellowship with those who lift up, but lovingly disciple, and those who will walk with you. These are the people who will gently point out areas in life and heart that need tending; but who will leave the deep tilling and the painful ripping out of deep rooted weeds to the Master Gardner.

A cultivated heart is born out of life experiences. It has let those experiences make it better and not bitter. It has decided to survive and thrive through the circumstances that life tosses in it’s way. It knows that life is not always easy; but has decided to take the chance to bloom and flower anyway so that others may be encouraged and flourish.

A cultivated heart opens the garden gate to the Gardener so it can be lavished with love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22) and then it opens the gate again and showers others with the blessing of those same gifts.

It is grace… is a gentle summer rain.

May you be blessed with a warm summer rain that waters your soul and cultivates your heart. May you graciously receive and extend grace.

May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
like showers that water the earth!
Psalm 72:6












Garden Maintenance

Weeding Tomatoes

It is amazing to me how fast the weeds seem to grow in my garden. It does not seem that long ago that I spent a couple days, hand pulling weeds, hoeing and mulching that garden. Here one week later I need to do it all over again.

After hanging up a load of wash I thought I would venture over to the garden and unfortunately no one had taken care of the weed problem.  I crawled over my chicken wire panels (to keep out the rabbits) and started pulling them out (the weeds).

In my years of gardening I have found out that you must be diligent in the care and maintenance of a garden plot. In my years of living I have also found out I must be diligent with the care and maintenance of my spiritual life. In both cases if I do not maintain them regularly the “weeds” will outgrow the plants and eventually kill them. I digress….

I also discovered that I have been having a visitor to my fenced in garden area. I found two new “doorways” along the back fence. A woodchuck has burrowed under the fence and been helping himself to my lettuce and carrots. I have filled his “doorway” back up with dirt but I have a feeling he will be back.Chuck

This is an old picture of a woodchuck that we named Chuck (very creative right?) He used to come “visit”  our house quite often.  He even spent the winter in our garage back when we had a dirt floor. I think our new visitor might be one of his descendants that is terrorizing my vegetables. Now if I could just train them to eat the weeds and leave the vegetables.

For some reason he does not seem to eat the onions. This fact is totally understandable to my husband who doesn’t want to eat them either.


Gardening is an ongoing struggle to stay ahead of the weeds and various critters who think I have planted it just for them. It is worth the struggle!

Much of life is like gardening.  It can be a lot of work that needs to be done over and over again. There are always plenty of “weeds” waiting to take over and just suck the joy out of life. But don’t give up. There is a harvest coming. That is a promise I am hanging on to.

Until then I will water, weed, and enjoy the journey of life and gardening.

Enjoy your weekend and may you find joy in your journey.

In simple humility,
let our gardener God,
landscape you with the Word,
making a salvation
-garden of your life.
James 1: ~21



Dorothy Lynch Wannabe

Blooming Potatoes

Potatoes in Bloom


I have been spending this last week in the garden weeding, and weeding and did I say weeding? In the days that we were gone to our nephew’s wedding the garden plants really took off and so did the weeds.

The potatoes have started to bloom and when weeding the patch where the carrots are supposed to be I discovered a lot of hair-thin carrots were actually growing. That meant I had to spend time on my knees picking each weed, one by one so I would not end up taking out most of the carrots. I am pretty sure some carrots were harmed in the picking of those weeds.

I kept telling myself it would be worth it in the end – carrots on my pantry shelves. Those weeds reminded me of bad habits and sin……hard to get rid of but worth it in the end.  And the only way to get rid of them is time spent on my knees.

Fresh Lettuce

I also found my lettuce was growing.  the large one in the picture is a volunteer from last year that the rabbits overlooked. The rest are all small (like the carrots) and required time-consuming plucking of weeds.

Seeing the lettuce had started; I figured I had better make some salad dressing so I would be ready when my lettuce could start being picked. A friend of a friend gave me this recipe that I really like.  If you have ever had Dorothy Lynch Dressing… is a close copy of that.

Dorothy Lynch Wannabe

Dorothy Lynch Wannabe Dressing
1 can tomato soup
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon prepared mustard
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/16 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
pepper to taste

Blend well with electric hand mixer or put in blender
Note:  I have used Splenda in place of sugar but it is runnier.

Now I just need to wait patiently for the lettuce, carrots,tomatoes and onions to grow so I can have a great salad.

In the meantime I think I will be doing more weeding  and watering before I get to sample the produce.

“Don’t let the tall weeds cast a shadow on the beautiful flowers in your garden.”
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Build houses and live in them;
plant gardens and eat their produce.
Jeremiah 29:5