Let My People Grow

Many forms of captivity may manifest in our lives beckoning our very own exodus. One such form of captivity I personally experienced was domestic and familial violence, that is violence or other forms of abuse committed towards me by a spouse as well as a close family member. Sometimes people who you thought would protect and provide for you choose to oppress you much to your shock and horror. Nevertheless, the story of Joseph’s family oppressing him (in the Bible) reminds me that God can use all circumstances for your good and the benefit of others as well. Later on in Scripture, God hears the cries of the oppressed descendants of Joseph and his family and sends Moses to let God’s people go. Hence, the exodus story. After cultivating my exodus from such “pestilence”, God used gardening to help heal my heart and mind. With a heart full of gratitude towards God for graciously hearing my desperate prayers, I want to use my life to help cultivate growth in others who may still be awaiting an exodus of their own.

Due to these traumatic experiences and wanting to help others still in captivity, I became a certified domestic violence advocate that not only held faith based support groups in my home for victims of domestic violence, but I also went on to found a non-profit that housed pregnant survivors of domestic violence and their children. Although I no longer house hurting women, I find myself still wanting to encourage those who are suffering. Perhaps my garden-themed articles throughout this site will plant seeds of hope and healing to those still in captivity.

Additionally, if you are a loved one of a person currently in a toxic and abusive relationship, it is critical you do the following to best help your loved one:

  1. Educate yourself on domestic violence. There are many variables involved and no easy solutions. Refrain from saying things like, “Why don’t you just leave him/her?” or exuding any form of victim-blaming. To learn more, click here http://stoprelationshipabuse.org/educated/avoiding-victim-blaming/
  2. Ears open. Understand victims of domestic violence are often gaslighted and bombarded with lies and negative comments from their abusers as well as ignorant, insensitive people. How you respond to the victim is a matter of life and death. The best thing you can do for your loved one is simply listen.
  3. Explore and Empower. You cannot fix their situation and you do not know what is best for the victim. They, however, know their circumstance and abuser best. It is important you help them explore all options and think through potential outcomes for better or worse and then empower them to make the best and safest series of decisions for themselves and their specific circumstances. Refrain from making decisions for them or forcing them to take action.
  4. Encourage the victim. Please be patient and encouraging as you listen to the many exhausting emotions, patterns, and variables the victim will experience. Be aware a victim of domestic violence often attempts to leave or indeed ends the relationship only to return on average 7 to 9 times before finally terminating the relationship. It is important you do not say anything negative about the abuser to the victim for she/he will not return to you for advice or help once she/he reconciles with their abuser. Leaving is a process – not an event. Also, be aware when a victim of domestic violence attempts to terminate the relationship, that is when the victim’s life, as well as her children or pets, are most in lethal jeopardy. She cannot “just leave”. By encouraging her to do so, it could be signing her death warrant – particularly if weapons are in the home.
  5. Evolve. Eventually, by planting seeds of love and hope in your loved ones as you implement these methods listed above, in time, the victims will hopefully free themselves from such pestilence or suffocating weeds when they believe it is safe to do so and evolve into overcoming, “ever-blooming roses” despite life’s prickly pain.

“My life is an example to many, because you have been my strength and protection.” Psalm 71:7

Ever-Blooming Despite Life’s Prickles: Bloom Where You Are Planted

‘City of York’, a fragrant, climbing rose.

Bloom Where You’re Planted

It’s been said upon taking a late-night stroll, white roses tend to glow in the dark offering a natural, but romantic atmosphere. Unlike some plant life, roses stay open all day and all night. The white rose symbolizes purity, innocence, and spirituality while providing an alluring aura. Although all roses enrapture us, perhaps the white rose beckons a higher calling of beauty and splendor. Scientifically, the color white encapsulates all the glorious colors of God’s rainbow. It also could poetically symbolize the utmost radiance of His glory. Moreover, a rose, in any color, shape, or size displays the master gardener’s splendor.

I am the Lord; I called you with righteousness and I will strengthen your hand; and I formed you, and I made you for a people’s covenant, for a light to nations. To open blind eyes, to bring prisoners out of a dungeon, those who sit in darkness out of a prison.” Isaiah 42:6-7

Likewise, our purpose is to display our Master Gardener’s splendor by being the attractive white rose growing and glowing in a dark world lost without God’s light, without God’s Torah as light (Psalm 119:105-106; Proverbs 6:23). Whether we are living in an urban city, like the City of York, Pennsylvania (the rose pictured above is called such), living in the suburbs, living in the countryside, or even living on a sailboat as I once did, as Abba’s roses, we are to bloom, for His glory, where we are planted!

‘Full Sail’, an incredibly fragrant and disease-resistant white hybrid tea rose.

She Blooms

No matter what season we may find ourselves in, Mother’s Day tends to be a sensitive day for women (and even their children too). Holidays like these have a peculiar way of annunciating all life has thrown at us… But today, this year, on this Mother’s Day, it is well with my soul. Whether we are barren or a full house, whether missing the wayward child or moms passed away, whether we are grieving over children lost or celebrating children or grandchildren gained, or any other matter life presents us, I pray we choose to be ‘ever-blooming’ through it all. Every rose has thorns, fights disease, and is attacked by pests, and yet, she blooms.


(This rose I photographed reminded me of my 4 children)

Another Glorious Texas Rose Garden

AntiqueRoseEmporium.4.14.19

After living in Texas for a few months, one benefit to living here is the roses bloom all year long! As Spring approached, my need to peruse a rose garden blossomed as usual so my husband and I decided to meander our way over to the Antique Rose Emporium in Brenham, Texas. This charming country emporium is about a 2 hour drive from our sailboat we live aboard (and grow roses on) in Kemah, Texas, just Southeast of Houston towards Galveston. Along the way, we were greeted with the famous Texas bluebonnets and other lovely wildflowers profusely blooming on ranches established along Route 290. We were surprised to see numerous people pull over to take photos in the populated fields of various colors. It became apparent many were planned photography shoots for Easter or Spring in general. What a lovely idea indeed!

Jerry and I were delighted to find bluebonnets and other wildflowers growing on a field adjacent to the Antique Rose Emporium so we too got in on our very own photography shoot!

While browsing the various old garden roses and modern ones alike at the Antique Rose Emporium that mid-April Sunday morning, we took a few moments to stop and smell the roses they had on display.

Savanna.HybridTea

‘Savannah’, a highly fragrant and disease resistant shrub rose with an old rose charm.

Out of the roses showcased that glorious Sunday April morning, I think ‘Savannah’ was my favorite (although it was a tough choice for sure!). Savannah’s romantic old rose fragrance and luscious petals of peach and pink welcomed me like the South always does! You can learn more about this Southern beauty, by clicking here.

I also admired the various roses planted throughout the grounds as well as the creative displays and the overall country-like feel of the garden. If you are in the Houston, Texas area, you may want to take an easy drive out to Brenham, which is Northwest of H-Town, to explore the Antique Rose Emporium. To learn more, visit their website: https://antiqueroseemporium.com/ Every rose lover must visit at least once!

Roses Showing Signs of Illness

Rose_Fig04While I’m still recovering from the flu, which now has turned into bronchitis, I reflect on how our beloved roses sometimes show signs of illness as well. With spring just around the corner, perhaps these resourceful links can help you diagnose signs of sickness in your roses early on. My original book, Ever-Blooming: Despite Life’s Prickles provides tips to combat diseases like powdery mildew, black spot, and more. Also, if your roses suffer from pest issues this gardening season, be sure to get a copy of my second book, Ever-Blooming Roses: During the Good, the Bad, and the Bugly.

In the meantime, here are a few articles written by other sources to help solve some diseased rose riddles.

Rose Health Problems

Organic Treatment For Sick Roses

May we experience a bountiful and beautiful ever-blooming gardening season!