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Monday, October 22, 2012

God is a Gardner

Some crazy employee at Walmart just marked all the flower bulbs to 60% off.  Of course I bought 100 bulbs. 
Before I put away the toilet paper and shampoo, (the real reason I went to the store) I was in the garden planting my treasures.  It was the perfect day to think about spring.  The Bradford Pear across the street is a deep crimson and my mums are glorious in their purple and yellow flowers.  The squirrels are gathering up the walnuts in the back yard and I can see birds flocking on the telephone wires.  Winter will be here shortly.
Winter is my least favorite time of year.  No flowers to pick and ground too frozen to dig.  I miss sitting in my flower bed plucking weeds and enjoying the smell of wet soil.  Planting bulbs is the perfect cure for the soon to come winter blahs.  I will keep peeking out my window, waiting for the first tips of green to poke through the frosty soil.  Then I will know that warmer days are coming.  Gardening can resume.
When I am gardening I learn many analogies about God and how he takes care of us, and I learned another one today.  I purchased those bulbs knowing full well that Darrell and I plan to put our house on the market early next spring.  If we are fortunate, I will not be living in the house when those 100 bulbs burst from the ground.  Why in the world would I plant 100 bulbs if I’m not going to enjoy them?
Because they are beautiful.
I love gardening because I can work with the beauty that God has created and build a little space that showcases his handi-work.  God has generously created an entire universe of amazing sights, sounds, and smells.  I may never see the entire splendor of his hands, but I know he created it.  And more important, God knows what He has created.  It is all to his glory whether we see the fruits of our labors in this life or never.
I hope I will remember to try to create little spots of beauty in the lives of the people I meet.  I want to plant seed of joy and hope.  Maybe I can garden in the winter.  My soil may just have to be the souls around me.



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Simple Country Wedding

By Valerie Battle Kienzle
It’s 2012, and the WEDDING concept has changed since I got married in 1980.  Weddings can be as simple, extravagant or unique as the two individuals whose lives are being joined together.  Gone are the days of the must-haves – the engraved invitations and the matchy-matchy bridesmaids’ dresses.  The possibilities today are endless.

Destination weddings, beach weddings and outdoor weddings are popular alternatives to formal ceremonies and sit-down dinner receptions.  A woman I know recently wed on the concrete deck surrounding a large swimming pool.  After the vows were exchanged, the bride, groom and most of the guests jumped into the pool fully clothed, and the celebration began.

Recently my brother Rob and girlfriend Julie wed in what could be described as a tasteful Southern country wedding.  Like their personalities, theirs was a unique celebration of the melding of their lives.

Technology brought them together.  After various failed relationships, they met two years ago through  When they decided to publicly commit themselves to one another, they wanted to create a memorable experience – and they succeeded.

The couple exchanged rings and vows they wrote on the porch steps of a tiny renovated log cabin located on family property in Middle Tennessee.  The rays of the setting sun illuminated their faces like a soft spotlight.  The bride wore a beige mid-calf dress.  She carried a bouquet of flowers picked from her own garden.  The groom wore a black vest and pants.  Both wore cowboy boots.

Guests sat on bales of hay topped with lengths of white linen.  The bales were arranged in semi-circle rows around the cabin’s porch.  Their couple’s parents witnessed the simple ceremony from handmade wooden rocking chairs under a nearby tree.

Following the exchanging of vows, guests helped themselves to beverages iced down in an old bathtub or served from a table make of a repurposed barn door.  Bottled water was available in the front-end scoop of a circa 1950 red tractor.

Forget crystal and wine glasses.  Guests drank from Mason jars.  Appetizers were served from old 33RPM vinyl albums heated and shaped in bowls.  Small tables were made from lace-topped repurposed wooden barrels obtained from a Kentucky distillery.  The tables were accented with Mason jars filled with more flowers from the bride’s garden.

Guests dined on a Southern barbeque dinner with all the fixings – smoked brisket, cowboy beans, potato salad, slaw and broccoli salad.  The wedding cake consisted of a small flower-topped chocolate cake baked by a friend of the bride and three trays of flavored cupcakes made by the bride.

The music of Johnny Cash and other traditional country music legends, plus a dose of classic rock, played in the background.  Strands of tiny white lights provided a soft ambiance in the yard near the cabin.

Many of those in attendance agreed that this was one of the simplest – and most beautiful  -- weddings they’d attended.  It’s amazing what can be done with a small amount of money and a large dose of creativity!