Tyler Municipal Rose Garden

As we sojourned along our way from the Carolina’s to the Houston area to assist survivors of Hurricane Harvey, my husband I and spent the night in Tyler, Texas so that I could enjoy Tyler Municipal Rose Garden’s 4, 000 rose bushes. The heat was palpable this particular September day; nevertheless, I still managed to photograph many remarkable roses while a mockingbird sang over me.

To learn more about this lovely rose garden, visit http://parksandrec.cityoftyler.org/ConventionTourismFacilities/RoseGardenCenter.aspx

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Piercing Prickles

A few weeks ago when the first bouts of warm weather foreshadowed Spring, I joyfully toiled in my rose garden as I yanked up weeds, collected miscellaneous trash that navigated its way to my urban oasis, and pruned away damaged, diseased, or dead canes. Upon doing so, I had to practice a bit of gymnastics or perhaps yoga to conform my body into some unwelcomed areas within and around my rose bushes. Unfortunately, I made the foolish decision to wear nothing but sandals while my legs and ankles were only mere inches from piercing pain.

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“Fourth of July” is an enormous climber with canes reaching around 14 feet. She boasts a plethora of prickles in various shapes and sizes. Ouch!

And although I was surprisingly more limber than anticipated, my cell phone’s startling ringtone combined with a charlie horse in my foot stole my much needed concentration! Consequently, my ankle rammed into the thorns, or more accurately stated the prickles, I so gingerly tried to avoid. While accepting that prickly moment, my head flew back crying out in pain only to be greeted by a crown of thorns. So there I was in pain looking like the scary Carrie from that old horror film, hobbling to my persistent cell phone, which turned out to be just my husband wanting to see how my day’s been. It took an act of grace to not lash out upon feeling the full ramifications of such a precarious matter.

After running out to purchase mid-calf garden boots, I pondered on how painful it must have been for Jesus to wear His crown of thorns the Romans crushed into His skull full of wisdom and decided grace. Interestingly enough, the bush with the unimaginable prickles that pierced my flesh is called Fourth of July. Surely it’s no coincidence the extraordinarily thorny rose bush named in honor of our freedom reminded me of The One who longed to pierce our hearts when He willingly made a way for our eternal freedom.

Growing Horizontally {an excerpt}

Growing Horizontally {an excerpt from my book, Ever-Blooming: Despite Life’s Prickles}

Fourth of July

Fourth of July

 

Have you ever noticed how climbing roses produce far more shoots and consequently, stunning clusters of blooms when forced horizontal? As a rosarian, I’ve learned if I gently bend the rose’s cane while fastening it securely with string, the cane will produce significantly more blooms than if I let it grow as it pleases. I have to be careful though as the pliable and tender canes can snap. Equally important is the tension of the string. If the string is too loose, it defeats its purpose of guiding the growing cane. Conversely, if the string is too tight, it can pierce the tissue of the cane causing damage or complete destruction. Ultimately, I have the authority as the master gardener to sculpt each cane as I see fit.

“My body and mind may waste away, but Elohim (God) remains the foundation of my life and my inheritance forever.”
Psalm 73:26

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Blaze (Note: Blaze is a climber that only blooms in the Spring)

Similarly, once upon a time, this frustrated cane found herself no longer free to grow or go wildly as she pleased. Instead, Jesus, the Master Gardener, placed enough strings to tenderly, but securely force me horizontal through intense back and joint pain preventing me from escaping my bed.

Much to my despair, in a matter of weeks, my full time income rapidly dwindled to part time income, then unemployment. My financial stability was seemingly ruined! But God provided and worked everything out for my benefit just as Romans 8:28 promises. Consequently, those difficult days produced a soul harvest I would not trade for any paycheck or even my health.

“I have riches and honor, lasting wealth and righteousness. What I produce is better than gold, pure gold. What I yield is better than fine silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, on the paths of justice, to give an inheritance to those who love me and to fill their treasuries.”
Proverbs 8:18-21

Though uncomfortable, OK, frankly it was miserable at times, I blossomed spiritually and emotionally. Through that season of physical pain, this life slowly, but surely surrendered to His nurturing as He wasn’t hesitant to tackle my prickly thorns one by one. His strings were His boundaries inviting me to grow according to His purpose for my life. I could have rebelled against His plans and His boundaries or I could cooperate. The choice was mine. Thankfully, whether vertical or horizontal, I decided to grow with God’s flow!