The Work of the Garden

There are no minutes in the garden–
Only rows,
A measure not of time, but of task.
In the first garden, Adam was given the task of naming:
Zebra and musk ox;
Cheetah and gerbil.
He punched no clock, but poured out creativity, fulfilling his role.
Eve may have pruned apple trees for optimal fruition, but she wore no floppy sun hat.
There were no obligatory tick checks at day’s end.

In the garden,
without wasteful frenzy, the job gets done.
So when I say,
“I’ll weed for a half hour, and then I’ll come in and start supper,”
what I really mean is,
“Supper might be late tonight.”

And there I will be,
Under a floppy sun hat,
Soaking in bright afternoon rays which generate a heat amounting to just about what the tomato plants ordered.

The beets I replanted after torrential rain are sprouting,
but so are the weeds.

And those five rows of cucumbers…
I’ll hill two of them right now, and then stand in the shade to drink water
and admire the work. 

Is this how time will move and be measured in eternity?
In God’s forever garden?
When arms and legs accomplish what the heart and mind have conceived,
the hands of the clock will 
tick tock
no more.

All that will matter is the work of the garden,
The work our hearts and hands were made for.

With love from the garden,



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Standing Ready to Be Amazed

The average human being lives approximately 30,000 days — which sounded like a long stretch of time until I did the math and discovered that, as of today, I will have lived 20,005 of mine.  Catherine L. Morgan envisions these Thirty Thousand Days as a journey home, traveling on a rattle trap train toward a sure and certain future of abundance.

In the meantime, however, there is waiting, and there is heartbreak, and no matter how well we try to manage our journey, there is always regret.  This following life, then, is one in which we look boldly at Solomon’s cynical Old Testament pronouncement that “all is vanity” and “a chasing after the wind” — all the while trusting in Jesus’ promise of an abundant life.

Living Well

Offering her own wisdom alongside that of others, Catherine lays down a cobblestone path of words for this journey gleaned from her personal reading of a broad range of authors and thinkers.  She speaks out of the context of experiences gained through inner-city ministry with her family in an impoverished section of the sprawling Denver metro-area.  Far from Chicken Soup for the Soul, her conclusions are a bracing cup of strong tea — no sugar.

If we want to live well within the gift of our thirty-thousand days:

  • We will walk purposefully.
  • We will offer up our hearts to care passionately.
  • We will open our hands to give generously and unclench our grasp from around the things of Earth.
  • We will love deeply because it is commanded — not because it is easy.
  • We will stand firmly in a dangerous faith.

Bold Questions

Pursuing “the things over which Christ presides” is a chasing after light, a darkness fighting strategy if ever there was one.  And this is the gift of viewing our days on this planet as a temporary prelude to a glorious eternity.  Childlike, we will ask questions that promote a bold following:

Why not read Psalm 37 with a reckless abandon?  What would it be like to wholeheartedly trust, dwell, do good, and delight?  Can I even imagine a life without fretting?

What if my present circumstances are a canvas against which the glory of God will be radically put on display?  What if this current set of troubles is “light and momentary” after all?

Am I able to view my marriage — or my singleness — as a mission?  Can I hold my church membership in the same light as a gym membership in which I “expect to sweat, to strain, to run an extra mile?”  Let this thought marinate to adjust your perceptions on community and the local church:

“I am an alien and stranger here in the thick of a great battle.  If I am engaged in this battle, I will need the refuge of the church.  Love will sustain me.  If I do not perceive this need, maybe I am not really engaging the fight.”

Leaning into the truth that I am mightily loved by God, that He delights in my delight, I am emboldened to discover where this great love might lead.  Catherine points out a pattern in the book of Acts that I’m eager to see reproduced in my life and in the lives of those I love:  “The disciples prayed, and then they were amazed.  They prayed, and then they were amazed.”

With thirty thousand days ticking by so quickly in this journey, I stand ready to be amazed.


This book was provided by the author in exchange for my review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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What’s Your Hurry?

From time to time, I experiment with timelessness by taking off my watch.

That naked wrist feels as daring and vulnerable as a bathing suit in a January blizzard, while every glance to check the time quickens my pulse to the rhythm of the question that my heart needs to hear:  What’s your hurry?

Contriving a virtue where perhaps there is none, I like to believe that I’ve acquired a “disciplined approach” to time:  a “watch your minutes and your hours will take care of themselves” Depression-era frugality with the span of my days.

And it’s true enough that my huge garden and my history of homeschooling four boys have given me plenty of opportunity to fine-tune the art and science of multi-tasking.  I’ve folded laundry and entertained a baby while listening to an eight-year-old practicing his piano lesson; I’ve canned green beans while quietly scribbling rhymed clues for a birthday scavenger hunt; I’ve made strawberry jam while preparing a lesson to teach at VBS the next morning. 

It can be hazardous to take off your watch when you’re the only one in the house who can tell time – especially if there is a schedule out there somewhere that’s holding together a fragile infrastructure.  However, it occurred to me this year (I’m a slow learner) that I’m past the mid-point in this journey of raising boys with more years of parenting in the rear-view mirror than on the road ahead.  Furthermore, I’ve also noticed (I said I was a slow learner!) that all my boys are becoming competent and trustworthy —  unlikely to eat Drano or to put a fork into an outlet — and are very cued-in to their own schedules and needs.  They write their own work hours into pocket-sized planners carried around in man-sized pants.  They can make a sandwich if they need to.  While this is a salutary thing, it also means that this metamorphosis into independence has happened right under my nose while I have been busily making pizza and grousing about the odd number of socks under the couch.  

Did I hurry through potty-training so that I could hurry through tooth fairy visits and multiplication flash cards?

Have I hurried through bedtime prayers and the blessing song so that I could hurry through curfews and car keys?

What’s my hurry?

I want the volume of this question to drown out the ticking of the clock and the notion that no matter how much I accomplish in a day, it’s not enough. I want to tear down the giant parentheses that I’ve erected around my minutes so that I can listen to the person who is talking to me and be all there; so that if someone has a great idea, it doesn’t have to elbow its way through the web of plans that I’ve already solidified.

I am celebrating (and at the same time coercing myself into) this healthier relationship with time by:

  • Purchasing a smaller day planner. Fewer lines each day means fewer tasks-bump it to the next day or leave it undone. An over-long do-list leaves no space for a be-list.
  • Going for a daily walk with a lumbering St. Bernard. Sometimes I bring memorized verses on 3×5 cards to review, but sometimes my brain is a blue screen of invitation for God’s thoughts to permeate.
  • Reading Scripture out loud when I’m alone in the house (or waiting in the mini-van) which forces me to slow down and to form the words with my mouth, to hear myself saying truth, to savor the syllables and gain the grace that slows my pulse.

As I turn the pages and ponder the words that God has given, I find the truth that my time, like my next breath, is a gift from God, and He owns forever. So, what’s my hurry?

To gain the luxury of laughing over shared silliness and the comfort of simply sharing space with my favorite people, can I resist the greed and impatience of a life that is lived to the ticking off of tasks?

Next, next, next, next, next, next, next …

I’ve observed (and complained) that it is the nature of God to do many things very slowly. He takes all the long leisure of eternity to accomplish His purposes, so who am I to act as if time were something to be hoarded? God may require that I walk when I’d prefer to run, and, as Shepherd of my soul, He may say that it’s time for me to lie down.

What’s your hurry, soul? Read the words of Psalm 31:14-15 and mean it:

“But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD;
I say, ‘You are my God.’
My times are in Your hand.”

Lord, teach me the wisdom of conducting my life according to Your timetable, for You are the One who holds time.


This post first appeared at SheLoves Magazine.

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