Composting Leaves 2019 (7)

Lord, thank you for this piece of land where I can dig and plant and grow and harvest, and most importantly, marvel over your creation. This past year has delivered challenges along with new lessons learned and successes coupled with some failures. My life outlook leans well to the positive as I tend the garden, an activity that by its very nature demands forward thinking, hope, and confidence in the Creator. I pray those flavors might mark the other arenas of my life.

Composting Leaves 2019 (10)

Garden beds waiting for compost.

Thanks to Shawn’s gentle urging I’ve discovered that vegetables taste good, sometimes. The tomatoes from our vines, sliced and added to a sandwich, stimulate the palate in ways store-bought products can only hope to do. Who knew that summer squash, picked right before supper, sliced and cooked with fresh garlic, could taste so good? The garden delivered that red-tinted lettuce with its powerful flavor, nothing like that green paper stuff one finds pasted onto a fast-food sandwich. Fresh roasted kale adds spice to any meal. But carrots top my list, so sweet and crunchy.

Lord, may I retain the strength, flexibility and stamina in my senior years to enjoy working the garden season after season. When the fog of complaining and ingratitude mar my vision may I find perspective as I work the soil. Let the rich tastes of the harvest remind me to give thanks for everything as Your Word instructs me.

The earth is filled with wonder season after season, even during winter as the trees stand bare in the landscape. As I inspected those branches this week I found the buds poised for their spring debut. I discovered daffodil sprouts rising through the soil and in the warm spot next to the back steps a dianthus blooms. Winter brings garden catalogs with page after page of must-haves, and I could invest the next months inside, under a warm blanket, on the couch doing virtual gardening as I flip through, make lists, and check them twice. But the gardening is not done yet. Thank you for the seasons, the variety they bring, and the opportunities each offers to continue with the garden.

Composting Leaves 2019 (5)

Neighbors are happy to donate leaves. And I will share tomatoes in the summer.

Thank you for the surprising seventy degree December days and the open schedule so I could work on Shawn’s cut flower garden planned for 2020. The fence and gates are in place, and the soil amendments are cooking a rich medium to host those seedlings in a few months. Thank you for the tools required to do the work and for the experience to know how to use them. As I hefted Pop’s posthole digger time after time to install the gates I recalled the gardening heritage from whence I came. Lots of ancestors with calloused hands and dirty finger nails—thank you, Lord, for good examples.



The leaves are collected and stacked, sprinkled with a mixture of soil, composted manure, fertilizer, and water to start the pile percolating. What joy I felt to see the steam rising from the peak on this cool morning, evidence that compost happens! Thank you for the strength to build the pile. Only you can take the leaves most people count as worthless and toss to the curb and turn them into something positive. Something that offers a future benefit. Lord, would you do that with my failures? Help me to learn from them? Mature in the experiences? Grow more fully into the man you want me to be?

As 2019 closes and 2020 begins I pray the new year will bring a bountiful harvest of lessons from the garden.