Joy of Gardening

food healthy vegetables peppers
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Last week, I turned off my computer and completely tuned out the news. I tuned out the vile vitriol, the hatred, the distortions, the bias, and manipulations that have come to characterize the 24/7 media of our day. Alas! Media distortion isn’t new, however. Irish poet William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) penned a poem in 1913 entitled The Old Stone Cross in which he takes issue with journalistic integrity (or rather the lack thereof). Here is William Butler Yeats poem:

A statesman is an easy man, he tells his lies by rote. 

A journalist invents his lies and rams them down your throat.

So stay at home and drink your beer and let your neighbors vote. (poetryverse.com)

Taking a cue from Mr. Yeats, I have done just that—-stayed home and, well, while I’m not really a beer drinker I do enjoy myself an occasional Guinness Draught Stout. It reminds me of Dublin, the city after my own heart!

In my garden, I have planted a variety of peppers, tomatoes, squash, watermelon, cantaloupe, daisies, roses, lemon grass, lemon balm, peppermint, basil, hibiscus, sage and lavender.  It the middle of my garden, I have placed a  stone statue of Mother Mary. She is surrounded by roses, pink, yellow, and lavender. In the tranquil early morning, I sit with my hot coffee, listen to the red cardinals, blue jays, brown-winged hawks, and rust-colored robins sing like a heavenly chorus high above the cherry laurel and oak trees in my backyard. It is in this tranquil setting that I meditate and focus my mind on God’s blessings, on Jesus and his message of  love, forgiveness and redemption, on Mother Mary and her obedience to God’s call in her life. In the stillness I pray. In the stillness I rest and accept those things I cannot change and I ask God to bless me with discernment to change those things that I should change, and that I have the power to change.

I find peace and truth in the quiet of my garden. I find peace and truth that only God can give. This world and all that is in it passes away. Only God’s peace and truth remain.

Isaiah 26:3-4 tells us: You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in youTrust in the Lord forever, for the Lord is the Rock eternal.

In John 14:27 Jesus comforts us: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

I cannot tolerate the constant onslaught of violence and hatred in which the media relishes. They no longer report facts, but rather design “stories” to incite hatred, anger, strife, division.  High drama sells.  I, for one, choose to step back and not allow myself to be manipulated, to be made afraid.

Of course, I do not stick my head in the sand and pretend everything is perfect; of course, it isn’t.  I choose to rely on My Lord Jesus for strength in the storm. I choose to rely on My Lord Jesus for help in danger. I choose to rely on the comforting words of My Lord Jesus.

Jesus told me not to let my heart be troubled and to not be afraid.

I put my complete trust in Jesus’ holy words and  in His promises.

Jenny W. Andrews Copyright 2020

 

 

Dancing in the Rain

 

woman holding umbrella dancing in the middle of the road near cars and buildings
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“It isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain-” Vivian Greene

Yesterday marks one month since I taught in my classroom. In my community, restaurants have been reduced to only take-out service, other businesses have been closed indefinitely. The plan is for us to get back to normal by April 30th; some speculate it might not be until May 15th.

The media outlets have overdosed on the worst possible case scenario stories with emphasis on the problem rather than a solution. Is there a solution other than locking down the entire world? Surely, scientists with their wisdom can come up with a solution. Surely.

While I am teaching online now, I prefer to be out of my house and in the classroom.

Social distancing/social isolation is not emotionally, mentally or spiritually healthy. People need actual interaction with others.

Curious fact alert:  In my community, the liquor stores are open with lines out the door, but houses of worship  are closed.  Seriously? Who came up with this plan? Obviously someone who did not have their thinking caps on. Standing in line at the liquor store a few feet from each other?  Ha! Ha! Ha!

That’s a great recipe there for disaster-alcohol use while in social isolation.

No one thought this through-did they?

What could possibly go wrong?

I’ve tried to keep my spirits up. I am a positive soul and I  focus on solutions rather than problems. I’ve tried to share positive and uplifting messages here on my blog.

I like this quote “life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain” because it focuses not on the storm but on what can be done in the midst of the storm.

In the midst of the storm that we are all in right now I ask what can we do. Can we adjust our thoughts toward learning something positive about ourselves? Have we learned to persevere in the face of discomfort and fear? Have we learned to slow down and take a closer look at our lives and decide to make changes that we hadn’t previously considered? Have we learned to find joy in the little things?

For me, I have revisited my art work and I have started to edit that novel I kept telling myself  that I didn’t have enough time to work on. Well, time is all I have had these past few weeks. I have taken the time to organize family photos and clean out my closets.

In the midst of this storm I have decided to focus on the joy of painting, the joy of writing, the joy of early morning and watching the birds flying into the blue skies and landing on the branches of  the old oak trees.

I’ve decided not to give into the panic; I’ve made a conscious effort to focus on the future.

I cannot change what is happening around me but I can control my reaction to it.

I prefer dancing in the rain to complaining about the storm.

Jenny W. Andrews, Copyright 2020

 

 

Thanksgiving, Everyday

 

 

 

 

 

variety of vegetables
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Outside my window,  leaves of the pear trees and the oak trees have changed to brilliant hues of orange, gold, and crimson. Robin’s egg blue skies streaked with cottony white clouds remind me of the absolute beauty and wonder of this life. God has made us a perfect world with splendor beyond our comprehension if only we would take the time to just be still and open our eyes and look at what He has created. From the ancient oak branches in my back yard, red cardinals, eastern bluebirds, and clay colored sparrows alight and then wing across the vast expanse of this late November horizon. Cool winds waft through my open window, I watch a gray squirrel scurry down the gray bark of the water oak. The squirrel, like a chameleon, blended almost perfectly with the shades and shadows of the water oak’s bark. Such beauty! Such splendor on this calm morning. For too many years, I failed to take the time to just rest and to just be.

Life presents us with a myriad of twists and turns, wounds and sorrows, joys and victories. A truth that I have learned is that there will always be sorrow, there will always be wounds, but time moves forward and if I just keep moving along with my eyes firmly fixed toward God I will have victory and I will have joy. I have accepted the truth that the world is already perfect; I have accepted the truth that God in His infinite wisdom has placed me exactly where I am supposed to be. I am His child and I am perfect just as I am.

On this Thanksgiving week, I am thankful for another day to sit at my window and watch the splendor and majesty of God’s world unfurl in crimson, gold, and robin’s egg blue. I am thankful that I can feel the sunshine on my skin and that I can feel the coolness of the November winds wafting through my open window. I am thankful that God loves me and that I am never alone.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and it is a disturbing fact that the holidays are a time of sadness and depression for many people. There is an unrealistic expectation that everyone will be seated around the dinner table with family and friends. Unfortunately this is not always the case. There are plenty of people for whom  the holidays are just a reminder of bad memories. Not everyone has joyous memories of “family.” This is a sad fact, but it is a true one.

This holiday season if you are feeling depressed, please trust that God is forever with you. If your sadness is overwhelming, please reach out to others. Other people do care. Family isn’t necessarily those with whom you share a bloodline. Take a walk in nature. Look up at the blueness of the sky, listen to the song of birds in the tree branches, write down your feelings. Remember that God loves you beyond measure and that you are never alone. You are here in this world for a purpose that God has designed. You are valuable; you are God’s child.

I am thankful everyday for another day to see the beauty of the world around me.

It is a beautiful day.

Copyright 2019, Jenny W. Andrews

Joy

beach woman sunrise silhouette
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Joy

Getting through the day by letting things be as they are.

Letting go of control; Just accepting my world.

Not reading into things.

Simply being in this moment and letting this moment be.

Living my own truth; Voicing my own opinion.

Loving,

Laughing,

Creating my own joy; Refusing to let the darkness in.

Copyright 2019, Jenny W. Andrews

 

Please remember to get my poetry book “Life at the End of the Rainbow.” It is available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback. I would really like to get your feedback. Thanks for reading.