A few weeks ago, I spent a good deal of time writing a botanical-themed statement of faith. Jesus’ plant-based parables sure did help! 🙂 Sometimes nature says it all!

God & His Garden

369989.image0Just as both the invisible, buried root and the visible main cane or main branch of a rose bush are united as one plant through the bud union, there is one God consisting of the invisible Father and the visible Son, Jesus Christ, whom are united in one Spirit. All the fullness of God is manifested in His offspring, Jesus Christ just as we consider the visible canes or branches of a rose bush it’s fullness thereof. (Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1-4,18; 10:30; Ephesians 4:3-6; Colossians 1:15-18; 2:1-10; Revelation 22:16)

In the beginning, God established a beautiful garden in just 6 days (on the 7th day God rested and enjoyed His garden). God wanted His plants to forever thrive and flourish while setting up boundaries to protect His beautiful roses (Genesis 1-2).


Sin was sown into God’s landscape of life, which left untreated quickly spread


throughout (Genesis 3+). Similar to how black spot or other botanical diseases taint our roses, infectious sin plagues all human life and leads to physical and spiritual death revealing our desperate need for a remedy (Romans 3:9-26; 6:23).

The Savior, The Remedy

Just as neem oil is produced by the pressing of the fruit of a neem tree and used to treat common diseases and pests found inhibiting our rose bushes, Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, was pressed on the cross, also made from a tree, so that His blood, like neem oil, could cover and cure our disease of sin if we apply it to our lives (Matthew 26-28; John 1:14,29; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:14-21; Galatians 3:13; Philippians 2:5-11). Additionally, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are manifested throughout botanical creation as the death of a flower leads to fruit full of life-giving seeds.

Water Baptism

watering-rosesJust as life cannot exist without water, it is important those who claim to believe with their whole heart (Acts 8:36-38) believe by obeying Jesus’ command and example to be baptized in His authoritative Name, calling unto Him, for in baptism we are united in Christ (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:37-39; 22:16; Romans 6:3-5; 10:13; Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:11-12; Philippians 2:9-11; 2 Timothy 2:11; 1 Peter 3:18-22). Jesus taught that those who want to be planted in His abundant garden of everlasting life (enter the kingdom of God) need to be baptized by water and the Spirit (John 3:3-6; Mark 16:16). As we submerse ourselves in Him and therefore identify ourselves as His, living waters will wash over us (water baptism), washing away our sins (Acts 22:16), which were covered in His blood, and at some point, living waters flow through us (baptism of Holy Spirit), sustaining an adopted supernatural, flourishing life (John 4:1-26; 7:37-39; Revelation 22:1-2). Water not only washes away dirt (sin) in our garden, but is needed within our plants to thrive (Spirit). Choosing to receive Him, His example, and His command through baptism by immersion in His Name is the first public step towards a long evolving and rewarding process of trusting and obeying Him (John 1:12-13; Acts 5:32; Galatians 3:14).

Baptism of Holy Spirit

Similar to a gardener using his or her hands to plant small seeds of life in a receptive fertile soil, the Holy Spirit is a like a small incorruptible seed implanted into a receiving fertile soul typically, but not limited to, through the laying of hands as God wills (John 1:13; Acts 8:12-19; Acts 9:17; Acts 14:3; Acts 19:1-6,11; Romans 8:9,14; 1 Timothy 4:14; 5:22; 2 Timothy 1:6; 1 Peter 1:23). rosehip-seedsThe Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost, also referred to throughout Scripture as the eternal Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, and the gift of grace or Spirit of grace, is a promise (Acts 1:4; Acts 2:38-39) given by God in His timing to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32) – the hands of men and women are just a means by which God uses if He so chooses. Although the Spirit typically is transmitted through hands of Godly, Spirit filled people, there are also instances where the Spirit fell on others without the laying of hands (Acts 2:1-6; 10:44-48). Furthermore, the Book of Acts reveals that receiving the empowering Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8) is so intensely powerful it manifests physically in some form upon initial implantation (i.e. speaking in tongues, healing, etc. – Acts 2:1-4; 8:12-19; 9:17-18; 10:44-48; 19:2-6). Throughout various realms or circumstances of life, the physical often manifests what’s going on in the spiritual.


Rose Seedling 1After that incorruptible seed is implanted, rooted in Christ, and tended to, the Spirit within will continue to grow and blossom eventually producing fragrance and fruit (Matthew 13; 2 Corinthians 2:14-17; Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 3:17; 1 Peter 1:22-23; 2 Peter 1:2-8). Throughout the life cycle of the seed, it matures into an established and flourishing rose bush, albeit the seed cooperates with its own development by responding in obedient faith to whatever nutrition and refreshment supplied (Psalm 42:7; Matthew 13:1-23; 31-32; 25:29-30; Luke 8:18; Acts 5:32; Ephesians 3:16-21; 2 Peter 3:14-18). Consequently, should the once tiny seedling embryo continue to thrive as it grows up in God, it will go onto produce fragrant flowers, emitting the fragrance of Christ, but then as part of the beautiful cycle, the flower dies to its self Rosehip-Natural-oils-for-body-pg-fulland one’s self-centered desires as it serves others in love, allowing the dead flower to produce many more seeds or disciples in Christ (Mark 16:15-18; John 15:8,16).

Trials & Tribulation Followed by Resurrection

Moreover, when a new rose is birthed, it goes through a lengthy trial to test how the rose will respond to various conditions and seasons before it can go onto market to be sold and enjoyed. The breeder looks for healthy canes and foliage, signs of disease, prolific flowering, fragrance, and so forth. Numerous roses grow side by side for many years in a test garden before the breeder decides to promote the overcoming, seasoned, ever-blooming rose.  Whereas, other diseased or non-flourishing roses will be discarded and eventually composted.

Best Rose garden lr2

Likewise, we will be tested and tried, dwelling side by side with unbelievers and the disobedient, rebellious roses through various trials and seasons (Matthew 13:24-43; Matthew 24; Romans 5:3-5; 1 Peter 1:3-7; 4:16-19; Revelation 7:13-14; 9:4; 12:17; 13:4-10; 14:12-13; 18:4, 20-19:2; 21), but in the end, upon our Breeder and Master Gardener’s inspection we will also be promoted through either the resurrection or the gathering depending on if our current state upon His inspection is in dormancy, also know as asleep or dead in Christ, compared to a rose still flourishing despite the difficult and exhausting season of heat encountered (I Corinthians 15; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Revelation 10:7; 11:15-19; Ezekiel 26). At that moment, His chosen roses will be transplanted to be with Him and to glorify Him through an immortal fragrance of Christ in our designated roles for a millennium (Revelation 20:1-6; Zechariah 14). After the 1,000 years, the remaining dead will be resurrected and will be judged according to their works and obedient faith (Revelation 20:7-15).

The Eternal Garden

Although many diseased or weak roses were composted in the Lake of Fire, all the immortal roses will dwell in God’s eternal garden forever emulating an aroma of Christ (Revelation 21-22).



‘Seasons’ by Hillsong

As a worship leader, I’m almost constantly listening to music. This afternoon while composing a blog post, I “accidentally” discovered this poignant song. The title grabbed my attention since I just created an entire magazine based off the four seasons and lessons God revealed to me through them. You can order Ever-Blooming Roses Through the Seasons of Change through my magazine page (hint hint). 😉  In the meantime, soak in this song with a Christmas twist at the end…

Like the frost on a rose
Winter comes for us all
Oh how nature acquaints us
With the nature of patience
Like a seed in the snow
I’ve been buried to grow
For Your promise is loyal
From seed to sequoia

I know

Though the winter is long even richer
The harvest it brings
Though my waiting prolongs even greater
Your promise for me like a seed
I believe that my season will come

Lord I think of Your love
Like the low winter sun
As I gaze I am blinded
In the light of Your brightness
Like a fire to the snow
I’m renewed in Your warmth
Melt the ice of this wild soul
Till the barren is beautiful

I can see the promise
I can see the future
You’re the God of seasons
I’m just in the winter
If all I know of harvest
Is that it’s worth my patience
Then if You’re not done working
God I’m not done waiting
You can see my promise
Even in the winter
Cause You’re the God of greatness
Even in a manger
For all I know of seasons
Is that You take Your time
You could have saved us in a second
Instead You sent a child

And when I finally see my tree
Still I believe there’s a season to come

Like a seed You were sown
For the sake of us all
From Bethlehem’s soil
Grew Calvary’s sequoia

Florentina Transplated


Florentina, a climbing Kordes rose. (photo credit unknown)

Since moving to the beach earlier this year, I purchased and planted 2 potted roses to decorate my barren balcony. How hard it was for me to surrender my splendid rose garden back in Pennsylvania! Ironically, my $5 Walmart special rose, known as Miranda Lambert, a hybrid tea, has bloomed beautifully over and over again; yet, my $40 mail ordered climbing rose, known as Florentina, hasn’t bloomed once! Go figure!

After fussing over her and trying numerous tactics imploring her to produce a rose bud, I finally decided to seek permission from the HOA to transplant her to a garden bed here in my condominium community. Thankfully, the Board graciously agreed to accommodate my rose plea. On one warm day last week (it is reaching the 60’s and low 70’s here in Myrtle Beach), I relocated Florentina from her pot to a sunny garden bed. I read online that the more petals a rose has, the more light it will need to flourish.  Although the morning sunlight was sufficient for Miranda, Florentina, my climbing rose, evidently has higher standards. Get it.. climbing rose..higher standards? 😉20171124_124223[1]Florentina has numerous petals (more so than Miranda Lambert) so I am hopeful she was producing blind shoots (canes with no buds) due to inadequate sunlight on my balcony. In the few days since transitioning her to new soil, she has produced numerous fresh leaflets. In time, I hope to finally see her reach her full potential by producing blooms of scarlet red…


Florentina should produce blooms of scarlet ruffles. (photo credit unknown)

In the meantime, I will enjoy the ongoing blooms Miranda Lambert continues to bless me with.


Miranda Lambert, a hybrid tea rose, produces fragrant petals of pink.

A Season of Heat

While enduring the weather’s daily heat advisories or even “excessive heat” warnings recently, I noticed some of the leaves on my roses were edged in shades of burnt yellow. Although above ground is sweltering or even frying the foliage, below ground much activity is taking place for the overall benefit of the rose bush or any other plant life for that matter. The purpose of these hot days is to force the roots of any given plant to plunge deep within the soil in search of nourishing water.


“Dream Come True” captured at Portland, Oregon’s International Rose Test Garden.

Typically, the leaves of your rose bush will tell you what it needs particularly in the hot season of summer. If you see burnt edges on the leaves or the leaves appear to be wilted or even borderline crunchy, your plant needs a deep watering. Make sure you put the hose at the base of the bush and let it saturate the ground about a foot deep or for several minutes at a time. Otherwise, a quick watering will promote shallow root growth, which is not healthy. If your rose bush has a plethora of yellow leaves, it may have received too much water or may be suffering  from heat stress. Should you have a dark colored mulch, such as my favorite cocoa hull mulch, it could cause the lower leaves to experience too much heat and turn yellow.

Overall, the leaves will dictate when to water and when to skip it. You don’t want to water unnecessarily or too often as it could actually damage the roots. Rather, when you start noticing the leaves drooping a bit or feeling slightly harder than normal, it’s time to water. Mark on your calendar when you’ve watered as well as several days later when you noticed the leaves looking and feeling rather rough. You then will have a good indication of how many days your rose bush can go between watering – just subtract a day or two before they get droopy or rough. Bottom line, throughout this season of heat, a fine balance of sunlight, heat, and watering is a must. Don’t be afraid of the ongoing heat and how it may damage your plant. Let the rose bush learn to extend it’s roots deep within the soil and let the leaves tell you what the plant needs and when.


“Strike It Rich” captured at Portland, Oregon’s International Rose Test Garden.

Similarly, in our daily lives, we go through seasons of intense heat. And while our leaves, or outward displays, may moan and groan in our discomfort, take courage in knowing this is a season of perseverance. A season of heat to force our roots to plunge deep into the living soil of an immeasurable God. During such seasons of perseverance, our roots are invited to run deep into the river of life flowing from the one and only Jesus Christ. Many will succumb to the misery or the heat…many will give up and die off…while others will take the opportunity to go stronger within the deep wells of their soul soil. They will be able to endure brutal winters and blustering winds because their roots are firmly planted. Consequently, those that endure the season of heat, will be able to endure all seasons for they are “ever-blooming” roses.



{photo credit: Kathy Keatley Garvey}

Now that it appears Spring has fully sprung, I discovered an influx of aphids enjoying my aspiring rose buds. Aphids are tiny insects that smother the tips of rose canes, foliage, and buds while sucking the life out of any given plant. Left unchecked they can damage a rose bush and therefore, prevent a hopeful bud from blooming. Aphids often camouflage with the greenery of many plants, although they can come in a variety of colors. Perplexed as to why an abnormal amount of aphids were clinging to my canes this Spring, I reached out to my local rose society for answers. Despite my roses’ healthy foliage, nutritious soil, and lack of disease, most likely the mild winter didn’t suppress the previous year’s aphid population and their eggs allowing for more to flourish this year. Thankfully, with rose gardening comes an informative community of rosarians ready to help one succeed in growing beautiful roses whether through your local rose society or online. Facebook groups offer a fun way to see blooms from all around the world while getting answers fast! Regardless if one is educated through the web, books, experience or all of the above, gardening, particularly rose gardening, requires an attitude of ever-learning!

Similarly, I have found as a rose in God’s garden, we too need an ever-learning attitude for there is always more to learn about God, His Word, and His principles. After all, it shouldn’t surprise us that there is an infinite amount to learn about an infinite God. If you aren’t growing in God, then you probably are shriveling just as the aphids do to the foliage of a rose. Perhaps now is the time to reach out to your local body of Christ, being the church, to get the answers, accountability, and the encouragement you need to thrive just as I needed to reach out to my local rose society for help.

To learn more about treating aphids and other insects commonly found in the garden, get a copy of my book Ever-Blooming During the Good, the Bad, and the Bugly.

New Life and Purrfect Opportunities

warmingkittenAfter the dormancy of winter, I welcome new life and new opportunities sprouting forth this Spring. The birds joyfully sing and the foliage of my roses burst into a song of their own. Spring has once more resurrected my garden and soul! Oh, what happy days!

While dumping potting soil into a new container one sunny and recent Spring day, I heard a distinct sound that differed from the usual twitters of my flying friends. I stopped tilling the soil to simply listen. As it’s frantic cries beckoned my curiosity, I discovered a rejected newborn kitten within the boundaries of my yard. One of the local and very pregnant alley cats frequently napped in my garden, but apparently on this particular day she moved a large piece of cardboard from our recycle bin area to make herself a temporary home to give birth in. For whatever reason, she opted to remove this tiny, gray, and fiesty kitten from her nest. Hoping this little guy had just wandered away, I waited from within my home watching to see if Momma Cat would retrieve her helpless kitten. As I anxiously peered out my window, storm clouds approached threatening to drown the abandoned newborn. The drops came fast and furious while Momma Cat still refused to rescue her kin. I had no choice but to make a dash to retrieve the frightened baby. I quickly bathed it and warmed it to my chest. A few hours later, Momma Cat began putting one kitten after another outside the nest rejecting all four of her litter. I read feral mother cats are more likely to become overwhelmed, stressed, and malnourished forfeiting their parental rights in order to simply survive. kittens.5daysNaturally, my husband and I rescued the crying kittens.

God surely has a sense of humor because just the other day I was wishing my tubes weren’t tied. Suddenly, I have quadruplets! To my surprise and delight, these precious babies require much of the same care a human infant requires: Feeding them every couple of hours or so, burping them, wiping their tooshies before and after feedings, and many loads of laundry. I am sleep deprived and exhausted just like any mom caring for her newborn. Nevertheless, I am grateful for this resurrection season of new life and new opportunities! It’s simply purrfect!

Getting Dirty For God

bareroootsoakingUpon letting the roots of my newly purchased bare root rose soak in a bucket of water for approximately 24 hours, I decided to recruit my 11 year old son in helping me plant it. Although willing to help me out, my son was not keen on getting his hands too dirty. After all, his hands prefer Legos and videos games. Nevertheless, I figured he could use the sunshine and learn a thing or too in the process. After choosing the desired area of where I wanted to plant my new rose, we saturated the ground to make the digging easier while also testing the drainage of soil. My son and I then took a few turns plunging the shovel in the dirt till we reached the width and depth we needed. By this point, we were ready to transplant the bare root rose from being in the bucket filled with water to it’s permanent home in the ground. Because the ground was reasonably muddy, I put on pink rubber gloves to protect my freshly painted nails. Apparently, even I don’t like to get my hands too dirty!

I proceed to create a mound of soil in the shape of a pyramid within the hole so I could rest the rose on top of the mound while sprawling it’s roots out as best as possible for optimal growth. barerootplanted.webWhile holding the rose in one hand, or glove I should say, I used the other to pack the dirt around the roots as well as the dirt around the base of the rose till she was firmly secure. Overall, the process of planting our newly adopted rose was a success, but we sure did make a muddy mess.

Many days later, I reflect on how we as Christians often like the beauty of our Christian traditions and concepts much like we enjoy the beauty of roses or the idea of a lovely garden. pinkdirtygloves.webHowever, we don’t usually like to be too inconvenienced by getting our hands dirty. It’s far easier to be comfortable in our faith journey or to be what I call “convenient Christians” than followers of Christ willing to follow Him all the way to our own cross and eventual resurrection. More often we prefer to stand around like my son and watch others get dirty for God. Or if we do take the plunge, we set limits on our love by wearing gloves so the depth of our devotion doesn’t stain our nails, alter our appearance, or even transform us.And yet, Christ’s devotion willingly took the depth of a few nails to remove our sinful stains with the hopes we’d be firmly rooted in His garden.

Chocolate and Roses


“Sweet Drift” enjoys cocoa hull mulch.

When you think of chocolate and roses, Valentine’s Day may come to mind, but did you know there is mulch that smells like chocolate? Cocoa hull mulch or cocoa shell mulch is simply the shell of the roasted cocoa bean. This economical, organic, and dark colored mulch is readily available at many nurseries in the area or online and boasts a divine smell as well as other benefits to your garden. Some benefits to this aromatic mulch is it improves the soil since it has a pH of  5.8 and puts nitrogen back into the soil, whereas rapidly decaying organic mulches reduce nitrogen level. It also helps retains moisture and cocoa hull mulch helps prevents weeds as it interlocks together when wet creating a nice barrier. In addition, it helps repel slugs, snails, termites, and some bugs.Another benefit is cocoa shell mulch gets darker as it ages not lighter like most mulches.

A word of caution though if you have small children or pets, cocoa shell mulch can cause physical illness or death if consumed in large quantities, but most animals would not be attracted to it in the first place. Nevertheless, something to consider. Another factor to be aware of when considering this mulch is a harmless mold can grow on it if over-watered or when in very humid conditions with not much air circulation. A simple solution of vinegar mixed with some water will resolve this issue though.

Personally, because of it’s smell, textures, natural resource, and benefits to my roses, I am a big fan of cocoa hull mulch! It seems everyday is Valentine’s in my garden!