Pruning Roses

Pruning Roses

Tracy Watts

Wife, mom, daughter, teacher, blogger, crafter, organizer - but most and best of all, I am a Christian. I am passionate about my family and my God. I am married to my best friend and am blessed with a one year old son who keeps me busy all the time staying at home with him. And I am glad to be in the service of our incredible and awesome God.
Tracy Watts

Today, I pruned our rose bushes. This is not my favorite job, even at the best of times. It certainly is not my favorite while being eight months pregnant. Pruning is hard work–prickly, back ache-y, and tough.

Pruning is Necessary

And yet, any gardener worth his salt will tell you that you need to prune your rose bushes. Something happens, even though it seems backwards. That cutting and snipping–with those awful, sharp scissors–it seems merciful that plants don’t have feeling! It would be horrible to feel each clip and snip, to watch your former glory fall off, dead and useless to the cold, wintry ground.

But it does something wonderful for the rose bush. You see, not only does the rosebush grow back, it grows back fuller, richer, more beautifully. The rose bush needed to have its branches pruned, no matter how painful (for the bush or for the cutter) in order for the rose to be at its best and most beautiful.

A Parallel in Our Own Lives

Isn’t that how we are with God? John 15:2 says:

Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

God knows exactly what we are capable of. And although pruning is certainly a better alternative to being thrown away, we know it to be painful in our own lives. When God’s deft, loving, and wise fingers prune me, it hurts. It hurts when sin must be ripped out of the dark corners of my life. It hurts when old, selfish habits must be relearned and bettered. When I must change my heart and my actions, it hurts. Because change is hard and often painful.

Pruning Sin from My Life Makes Me More Like Jesus

But I can also take hope. Just as I pruned my rosebushes, not with malice but with an eye to the future, with an understanding that it was for the bush’s best interests, certainly the Master Gardener, the Creator, the Almighty, will prune me with such thoughts. It may sting a little in the meantime, but in the end, I can be even more beautiful than a rose. I can be a reflection of Christ himself.

 

Growing with our Garden

Growing with our Garden

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
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This is from the first year we grew a garden with our children.  It was so exciting to make the square foot garden boxes, pick the seeds each child decided to plant, watch the first sprout pop up above the ground, and see the variety of God’s awesome creation. Then, we started harvesting some delectable garden goodness and in the process learned some lessons too!

Taste Bud Treats

Of course, you can just eat most items raw, straight out of the garden but we enjoy exploring different approaches with our taste buds, which brought us to these two yummy sandwiches.

Tomato, Cheese & Basil Sandwich

 

Simple Ingredients:  Honey Mustard, Tomato, Cheese and Basil

 

I love anything with basil, so when I noticed that some basil was ready to harvest, we promptly added it to our sandwiches.  After taking her first bite, my youngest daughter shouted in a loud, baritone voice,

Mom, I love these leaves!  They are delicious!”

She should like them.  I ate basil and cheese sandwiches every day for weeks when I was pregnant with her!

Cucumber Sandwich

 

At a baby shower I attended, the hostesses served these delectable sandwiches.  The mixture of herbs in the creamy spread was so enjoyable, I tracked down the person who made it to gather the recipe.

Simple Ingredients: Creamy Spread and Cucumbers

Creamy Spread (can also be enjoyed as a dip):

1 Cup Greek Yogurt

1 Cup Cream Cheese

2 teaspoons dried dill

2 teaspoons dried parsley

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Lesson Learned

God uses all his creations to teach us a little more about Him.  Growing a garden has helped us grow in our understanding of our relationship with Him as well.

For example, when I was trying to learn how to harvest basil, I found this great video that explained exactly how to harvest the basil in such a way that the plant would continue to grow.

 

In the video she says,

“If you want your plant to continue to grow you are going to have to trim it down…You want to do it in a way that you don’t damage your plant and your plant can continue to grow.”

This video made me realize that God is pruning us all the time. He wants us to grow in our relationship with Him, but that means we can’t stay the same.  In order to grow and be used for His glory, he prunes us in such a way that we may feel the change, but he doesn’t damage us.

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 

1 Peter 1:6-7

His ways of refining us to make us stronger spiritually may not always feel comfortable at the time, but the growth it produces will bring glory to Him in the process.

Do you garden?  

What are some of your favorite fresh garden recipes?  

What lessons have you learned in the process?

Spring Has Sprung! Do You Have Gardening Questions?

Spring Has Sprung! Do You Have Gardening Questions?

Toni D

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Toni D

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Radishes are starting to grow.

Radishes are starting to grow.

Spring is in the air!

The days are getting longer.  It is warming up outside.  For those who live where it snows, the snow is melting.  Spring is in the air!  This is the best time of year.  It is time to get out and get some fresh air.  I love this time of year!

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 reminds us:

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven- A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.”

Spring means it is time to get outside and start planting.

It does not matter if you like to grow your own veggies or just plant some flowers to beautify your yard.  Some people plant just a few plants to have fresh veggies while others plant enough to can or freeze some for the winter.  While some people plant in the ground, others plant in containers.

Starting plants in the greenhouse.

Starting plants in the greenhouse.

No matter what your preferences are, it is time to get started!  It does not matter if you are a beginner or if you have been gardening for years.

So let’s start planting!

If you have any questions about gardening, please comment below and I will answer your questions.

My husband and I have been gardening since we were very young.  We now have a produce farm and sell produce at farmer’s markets.  We may not have all the answers, but we have been through a lot and have learned a lot through trial and error.  Please ask away!

Do you have any gardening questions?

Some of last spring's green bean harvest. My family's favorite! Yum!

Some of last spring’s green bean harvest. My family’s favorite! Yum!

Weeds and Sin

Weeds and Sin

Toni D

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Toni D

Latest posts by Toni D (see all)

My husband and I love gardening.  Okay, maybe “love” is too strong of a word.  We certainly do enjoy it as it is a major source of income for us.  The one thing that we dislike about our hobby/occupation is the WEEDS. 

My husband and our two sons were working out in the garden one day about 12 years ago, when one of the boys asked, “Why do we have weeds?”  My husband explained to the boys that when Adam and Eve ate of the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil that the weeds were a part of the punishment.

Then to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.  Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field.”  –Genesis 3:17-18 (NASB)

Weeds and sin are the same!  They both get in the way of productive lives.  Weeds keep the plants you want to grow from thriving.  Sin keeps us from thriving.  It keeps us separated from God.  When we are wallowing in sin and not living in God’s will, we cannot have a complete and full relationship with Him.  The weeds (our sin) gets in the way.

In case you have been following my series on healthy eating and living, yes, this is the third installment in that series.  (Check out post #1 & #2.) You may wonder what this has to do with being healthy.   Well, the growing season has arrived.  It is time to get out there and start planting all those fresh veggies.  And, yes, you will have to toil and get rid of the weeds but you will have a great crop of yummy, healthy food to show for it.

Health Tip #3:  Grow your own food.  This not only gets you fresh vegetables to eat but it also gets you out of the house and into the fresh air and gets you active.  This is especially good if you have children who are picky eaters.  When they get involved in growing and preparing their food, they are more likely to try new things.

Gardening does not have to be difficult or a lot of work.  Start with container gardening.   You just need a few large pots.  You can put a variety of greens in a pot now.  Add some radish and carrot seeds to one side and you have fresh salad for weeks.  You can put a tomato plant in another pot and squash in yet another.  Just make sure that you get bush type plants/seeds for the plants that get bigger.

The maintenance of these pots is fairly simple.  Start with a good growing medium.  Do not use dirt from your garden as it can contain weed and grass seed.

Like us, your plants need to eat and drink.  Do not overdo it.  When the soil starts to dry out, water them.  Periodically, I feed mine fish emulsion.  This is available in garden centers or you can make your own.

One of the best things you can do if you’re a coffee drinker (make at home, not Starbucks) is add your coffee grounds.

Your tomato plants will also love your banana peels and eggshells. One more thing about the tomatoes is that if they are blooming but not producing, beat them with a broom.  Yes, literally, run a broom back and forth over them and that will help pollinate them.

Just a few hours a week and you will have great-tasting vegetables in your own backyard.

Recipe:  I’ll be sharing recipes for garden veggies in the next few posts.

Asparagus 

1 lb asparagus, tough ends trimmed

1 clove garlic, minced

1 T olive or grapeseed oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat cast iron skillet over high heat.  Add oil, then remaining ingredients, stirring constantly.  Cook for about 3 minutes and serve.

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