One of my favorite garden bloggers referred to Forsythia as being "too common" to be included in her landscape. One of my favorite harbingers of Spring is the sight of my glorious twin Forsythias in the backyard border. I understand her opinion when I look around and see what some well-meaning gardeners do to these beautiful shrubs. When I see Forsythias trying to survive in shady areas, after having been shaped into unnatural round blobs, I'm repelled as well. I wouldn't want them in my garden either. You probably have one of these lovelies in your backyard. Give her a fighting chance if you'd rather pull her out. Forsythias need 6 hours of full sun daily - they won't achieve full bloom in shady spots. Grow them in areas that drain well. They don't like standing in mud or clay. Give them a natural shape, but trim them immediately after they've lost their flowers. If they're looking really ratty, hack them most of the way down to the ground. They'll probably come back more beautiful than ever. If they don't, pull them out and buy a new plant.
“What religion are we?”Just four
little words.I had been raised in the
Methodist church but what could I say to her?We’re “nothing”?So, when my daughter was six years old and she
began asking questions about God and church, I decided it was important to find
a Sunday School for her.I selected a local Methodist congregation and
I began worshiping with my daughter, staying for coffee while my she attended
Sunday School.The group was warm and
welcoming and I was a captive audience.
The first Vacation Bible
School of the season was at a Baptist church.It was always held the first week of the summer after regular school was
over.I think they must have thought
that the kids were still somewhat in “school mode” and not yet accustomed to
long, unstructured summer days.
Anyway, parents of the Methodist kids assisted
or attended class with their younger children. My daughter’s teachers were warm
and loving and excited about God.They taught
with a large felt board painted in soft water colors. As they moved the
biblical characters around in their old and new testament worlds, they told the
old, old stories with pleasant, lilting British accents.The kids didn’t move.I was mesmerized.How much had I missed or forgotten? I started reading and studying the bible.I attended prayer breakfasts and bible
studies.I was reminded that knowing
Jesus could change my life and I wanted my life changed. I developed a longing
for the joy of knowing God’s power and presence.
On a warm summer evening, my
friend who was also my daughter’s Sunday School teacher, explained that because
of God’s grace, I didn’t have to earn His love and acceptance.I didn’t have to wait!Jesus had died for me.I just had to ask and He’d be there. I went
home that night, got down on my knees and asked for God’s forgiveness.Not only for my own offenses but for every
hurt I’d held onto for the previous 30 years of my life
I was a new person that night
of course, but that’s never the end of a transformation.Every time we decide to take one path instead
of another, we’re growing as Christians and as human beings.Things still go sideways; bumpy roads don’t
necessarily become smooth -sometimes it
seems as Christians, we’re challenged more than ever.But I have help now.I pray and I am prayed for.When I have to decide how I’m going to
respond to a situation, I know what it means to be Christ-like.“WWJD?”
is not a joke.They are four more little
words that have brought peace and harmony to our family more times than I can
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master
Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
Here's the hard part...
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.