It’s that time of the year when I can hardly go to the grocery store or Home Depot without wanting to buy a colorful pot of flowers, a few more herbs to grow, or another hanging basket.
I just listed a fixer-upper on James Street in downtown Boerne that I’m super excited about. At the open house, I made a joke that I’ve practically done all the work already. It’s amazing what hanging a few ferns on an old porch can do for curb appeal.
Plants liven things up.
Right now I’m driving around in my car, with a plump succulent stuck in a Mason jar.
I’ve sacrificed the use of a cup holder so I can have the pebble and soil filled pretty visible to me at all times. My new fourth-grade friend and I made a pair and it now serves as a daily visual reminder of caring for others and myself. When I’m stuck in traffic or on a long blue tooth call, I’m reminded to breathe and be simple. The earth and all that is in it belongs to the Lord.
The spongy plant keeps me from screaming Jesus Christ when all I really need to whisper is Jesus.
When the girls and I moved away from the city, out to the middle of nowhere, on sweet Miss Marjorie’s ranch, we didn’t have much money to buy pots of flowers, herbs or vegetables. I tried to save seeds from the food we ate and when those took too long to grow in the window sill, I got a shovel and headed out to the field.
And I started digging.
The prickly pear kind that most ranchers try so hard to get rid of.
The old red pick-up truck puttered down the red dirt road and then stopped outside the gate. In the slow but determined way he often spoke, Harvey, Miss Marjorie’s brother, scrunched up his nose and asked, “Why ya digging that up?”
“I hope it’s okay. I really just wanted to put some nice plants out on the porch.”
He gave me a strange look and said, “Huh. So you’re digging up the cactus?”
“I’ve never seen anyone do that.”
I loved old Harvey, and Marjorie Hey was one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. The beautifully simple ranch house with the cedar posts and the tin roof that sat buried in a field of bluebonnets was one of the most peaceful and happiest places we ever lived.
We had never been both so poor and so rich.
It was an innocent time when we had nothing but love for each other and the blanket of stars the Dixie Chicks sang about. I can still hear the quiet of the crickets and the slamming of the screen door when the girls came back in from swinging in the front yard. We were brave then, pioneers practically.
And one day, after many failed attempts, we finally got up the guts to cross the river where the road ran out. We saw the zebras. And made it to the bat cave.
Before you know how prickly life is going to get, you dig cactus, and are happy about it.
The other day I was out walking and found a delicate leafy piece of green just coming up out of the ground. So while the dogs stood patiently by my side, I dug it up with a stick and brought it home to plant.
It’s the start of something.
And a new start always helps me to think and remember that even when we feel fragile or life is more than a little rocky, strong roots run deep.
You are stronger than you know.