“Plant Lady”

Amateur gardener. That’s where I find myself these days, compared to four years ago when I don’t think I had a single plant. Our friends know us as the plant people, and we gladly accept the title. But who knew that adding a little green to our lives would have such an impact on us!

🪴

A local plant shop opened, and it looked like the cutest, coolest, hipster place to go. Everyone was visiting. So, I finally went, bought my first plant (snake plant), and it was all uphill from there! A cute Walmart cactus, a couple succulent gifts, and I was on my way to a nice little collection of houseplants. When my husband and I first started dating, instead of bringing flowers he would bring plants. So sweet!

And then, COVID.

Everyone and their dog was ordering houseplants and starting gardens. What else were we supposed to do!? Stuck at home, nothing but screens to sit in front of, waiting for the world to reopen.

I got engaged a few weeks before the virus really hit the US, planning on an October wedding. But then the world started shutting down and it felt like this may or may not be the end (nervous laughter), so we decided to move the wedding up to May. Two-month engagement! (I highly recommend short engagements, by the way. You’ll thank me later.) So as I began packing up my apartment life and moving boxes to Michael’s house, I needed him to watch my houseplants while I lived with my aunt and uncle during our engagement. “Work from home” just meant I went to his house during the day (we work together and he had wifi; I was not willing to pay for it…), so I was still able to care for my plants as well! So doing it together, this is when Michael really started to get the plant daddy bug.

While I was buying and being gifted houseplants, Michael’s interest in gardening was growing. He started with tomatoes and just had a blast working outside and reaping his first harvest! He was really enjoying the fun houseplants and cute porch plants we would find as well, so it was exciting to grow in this new hobby together.

So then there we were, newlyweds, starting to get in over our heads (see featured cover photo of directions for my friend while we were gone on our honeymoon). The amount of houseplants, garden plants, and porch plants we had seemed a little excessive. Flowerbeds weren’t even a thing until the next spring. But we continued to buy any cute plant we happened across, especially if they were cheap! We were definitely enabling each other’s plant addiction… no moderation, no accountability… $$$…

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As winter came and some of our plants died off (not gonna lie, we were a little relieved), we had a hard time fitting all of our plants inside… And yet, springtime came, and we were back at it again, ready to get our hands dirty and purchase some new plants, flowers, and veggie seeds to do it all over again, just even more overwhelming. Ha!

We did an even bigger garden and this time added in front flowerbeds. It’s hard to manage when you don’t live at home during the summer (we lived and worked at camp), but thank goodness for drip irrigation…

Still, between weeding and pruning, our garden got out of hand, and we lost some flowers and plants. After replacing the flower bed plants and ripping out some ruined veggies, we were off to a better start come early summer.

🌻

What Michael and I love is seeing the Bible talk about plants and gardening, using them as metaphors for the work of Christ and living a spiritual life. It’s so encouraging and we can relate to God’s word in new ways. And now when we’re gardening, we see the Lord’s beauty, provision, and spiritual work on display. What a blessing!

Being outside getting our hands dirty, and being inside surrounded by green things helped keep us sane while being quarantined for months. Grateful for that! We just jumped in the deep end and learned as we went.

What’s funny is, my mom always had flowerbeds and tons of plants when I was growing up. But I never really helped her, never got into it. Now I love getting to see her garden and talk plants and ask questions. ☺️ So cute, and an especially special connection.

I hope you’ll give veggie gardening, or house plants, or porch plants, or flower beds a chance! Just start small and learn as you grow. 😉

If you already garden, let me know how you got started and your best tips! We sure could use them! 🙂

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Before the Throne

Before the Throne of God Above is a beautiful hymn by Charitie Lees Bancroft. Michael sang it at church this past Sunday. It just so happened I was supposed to lead it, but I woke up with a fever and stayed home. As I watched the worship service online, the second verse really ministered to me.


Because of my ADHD, I sometimes suffer from anxiety or depression. So hearing “when Satan tempts me to despair and tells me of the guilt within…” I’m reminded that feelings aren’t good or bad; they’re just feelings. In moments of darkness or hopelessness or fear, the enemy sure does shout a bunch of lies. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that they’re not true. And it is these moments that I desperately need to remember and repeat the words of Truth we find in Jesus Christ.

“Upward I look and see Him there, who made an end to all my sin.” It’s hard to remember that because you have a relationship with Jesus Christ, your past doesn’t matter anymore. You are not who you were. This isn’t because you supernaturally changed overnight; it’s because Christ is good and perfect, and we now know Him, and our identity is now in Him. Oh how I need that reminder daily.

“Because the sinless Savior died, my sinful soul is counted free.” Okay, this is just good. See what they did there? With the “sinless” and “sinful?” Yeah, I just love that. LOL. But yes, FREE. I am free. Free from my past, shame, sin, death, darkness. I do not have to be chained to myself, in bondage to my feelings or my thoughts. I can live in freedom in Christ. I can choose freedom by choosing Christ.

“For God the Just is satisfied; to look on Him and pardon me.” The consequences of my past are taken care of by Christ’s death and resurrection. When I look to Christ, God pardons me; because I am in Christ, God looks at me and sees Christ.

The Lord has reminded me several times this week that I am a new creation; I am transformed by Him; my mind is renewed by Him; I can live life abundantly in freedom. All I need is to abide in Him. So I will now be reminding myself of these promises that I so easily forget or don’t believe.

Simple. Beautiful. Heart-wrenching. Supernatural.

I’m in awe of Jesus.


You can read my full article here.

Broken Bow Weekend

When you go on a weekend trip and forget your bag…

Who does that!? 😂

This past weekend I got to go with my husband to visit my best friend from college (also Liz 😆) for her birthday weekend! We stayed at Liz’s parents’ house, walked around Beaver’s Bend, hung with the family, and visited her church on Sunday!

We went straight to Liz’s house to eat dinner and hang out. Around 11pm we drove around the corner to her parents’ house where we would be staying for the weekend. We started to unload the car to go inside. And then I realized I didn’t see my weekender bag in the backseat. I looked up at Michael.

Did you load my bag? Please tell me you grabbed my bag. Where’s my bag? Is it sitting in the master bedroom still where I left it once I finished packing? Is this for real?… Unbelievable. This has never happened 😂 How!? I’m dumbfounded. 😶 Whatever, let’s just get inside at eleven o’clock at night and we can figure it out later. 🙃

Well. We did in fact forget to load the bag in the car. So, we stayed up late trying to figure out what to do. I picked out some necessities on the Walmart app so that Michael could run to the store in the morning. Bless him. As time went on, I was just annoyed at the situation. Like, what in the world?? 😤😭 If you know me, when I feel a negative emotion it’s pretty consuming (yay ADHD), so it’s hard for me to work my way out of that and get out of my own way. Michael’s a saint for being the best teammate and working through it with me, but especially because he has to bear the brunt of it (🏅). So after a few hours of sleep, a few tough conversations, and being distracted by a day out and about in Broken Bow, we were good to go! 😅

Even though Broken Bow has a small Walmart, they had the necessities. Plus, Liz’s parents had supplied several toiletry items in case we needed them (and boy did I 😩😂). So I lived out of a Walmart sack for the weekend and it was fine. I also got a hotdog and Mtn Dew Saturday lunch so it was a good day. 😂 Broken Bow has some cute, fun spots, so it’s always nice to drive around there. Plus, we took our dogs on a walk with us at Beaver’s Bend! So fun. The pups were being pretty cute (see photos below).

Sunday we went to Broken Bow, First Assembly of God where Liz is the interim worship leader and her family attends. Boy was it good!! I just cried during the whole worship music portion 😅 It was good to worship freely with friends that are family that I don’t see often. I was encouraged by their faith and worship!

The sermon that morning was over 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 and I was really encouraged. I was reminded that God’s power is perfected in my weakness (verse 9). So weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecution, difficulties (verse 10)—whatever it may be, God’s grace is with me and His power goes before me. His grace comforts me and His power covers me. So when my thorn (verse 8) aka weakness (ADHD) and difficulties (ADHD causes emotional deregulation, anxiety, and depression symptoms) cause me to fall short or feel less than, I know that God sustains me. He is still working in me, through me, and around me. He is glorified in these things because His power surpasses my weakness. I’ll be thinking about that reminder for awhile.

Hope everyone else had a good weekend ❤️





Am I Studying the Bible Wrong? – Part 1

Loaded question. Because it’s easy to get offended when told you are doing something wrong. It can be offensive even if we are asking, “Am I doing this right?”

We’re just prideful people. We don’t want to be wrong or embarrassed or feel inadequate. That’s part of the reason why it can be so hard to submit to God, admit our sin, and call Jesus the Savior AND Lord of our lives. But I recently needed a reminder: am I studying the Bible wrong? Should I feel differently about spending time reading the Bible than I currently do? The questions go on.

Sometimes there are dry seasons. Sometimes there are dark seasons. Sometimes there are seasons of plentiful nourishment. I never know why I’m going through a hard season or when it’s coming, but I know there will always be something on the horizon. I also know that the Lord is already on the horizon before I can even see the new day dawning.


During a dry season I was experiencing, God was good in giving me a husband to support and encourage me, a book to remind me of truth, and His grace and discipline that produces growth in His child. As I looked on my bookshelf for something that would provide guidance on studying the scriptures when I’m not in the habit of doing so and when I don’t even really feel like it, I came across a book I bought nearly a year ago and just hadn’t read. Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin was recommended by a mentor, and I purchased it knowing I would someday read it. On the cover it spoke of learning to study the Word with your heart and mind, exactly what my husband had told me a few days before that he observed I needed.

God is so good in providing! I love moments like these that remind me He is present, active, working in the everyday. I cracked open the fresh spine and read a chapter a day, only making it through chapter two until I realized I needed to share what God was teaching through Jen’s writing. So I will share Bible study habits as shared by Jen Wilkin in Women of the Word that we should break in Part I, as well as why we should break them, which is just as important to know. I will share Bible study habits we should pursue in Part II. But I’ll do the abridged version of both dos and don’ts to save you from some extra reading. 🙂

So. Part I!


Bible Study Habits to Break

  1. The Xanax Approach – Short and sweet: we look up a verse to make us feel better. A lot of times this could look like a day full of anxiety that ends with us looking at the topical index for verses on anxiety to make us feel better. But why is that a problem? Doing this makes the Bible a book about me. We do a lot of different things that ends with us trying to make the Bible about us, sometimes without realizing it. But the Bible is a book all about God. It’s dangerous to our spiritual life and health if our learning is based around us and our lives instead of God and His story.
  2. The Pinball Approach – Have you ever flipped open the Bible to a random page, read the chapter, and asked God to teach you through whatever page the Spirit leads you to? I have. This approach gives no room for cultural, historical, or textual context; authorship; or original intent. It also means we treat the Bible with very little respect. You don’t flip a novel open to a random page and read through it that way, hoping you make it from beginning to end eventually. That makes no sense when trying to read a story. Why would we treat the Bible that way?
  3. The Personal Shopper Approach – This is probably my go-to when I don’t feel like committing to a consistent daily Bible study: find something I’m interested in and just read about that. A topical study. Or maybe we choose a well-known author, speaker, or preacher and their podcast, book, or commentary to walk us through a topic because they must be an expert on said topic. What’s wrong with that? Well, these approaches can certainly help us grow, but they don’t allow us to take ownership of the scriptures and to understand their full intent and meaning. We bounce from passage to passage as we read through a book. We call it a “Bible study” when it’s really just a book or podcast about the Bible. These can be good supplements to scripture but not good substitutes. They aren’t foundational to our faith. If we only do this method, we miss the richness of the Bible. We must labor in the Word to reap fruit.
  4. The Telephone Game Approach – Plainly, this is when we read books about the Bible instead of actually reading the Bible. We read what someone thought about what someone thought of what the Bible says. Sometimes it’s way more removed than that. It can get distorted over time, or multiple authors we read or speakers we listen to say different things about the same passages. What now? Again, books are helpful, but not foundational. We are called to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind, strength; not someone else’s mind, heart, soul, strength. We must know the Lord in our own right; not ride the coattails of someone else. And if we know what someone else has to say about the Bible, but not what the Bible actually says for ourselves, we are in dangerous territory. Our Bible literacy is weak, and in turn our faith in God or understanding of God is weak. Our foundation is shaky because we didn’t build it with the proper bricks.
  5. The Picky Eater Approach – Jen refers to this in her book as the “Jack Sprat” approach. Maybe you only like Psalms and Proverbs. Or you think the only books that truly matter are the Gospels. Or maybe you don’t want to read about anything but Christian lifestyle by Paul. We need a balanced diet to grow and mature; same goes for the Bible. If your diet is very limited and one sided, you’re missing vital nutrients. We need men and women of the Bible to show us Godly living. We need history, poetry, law, and parables to understand the fullness of God. We need the savory of the Old Testament to truly appreciate the sweetness of the New Testament. Don’t sell yourself short. We need a well-rounded understanding of the Bible in order to know God in all His glory.

I’m so thankful for people like Jen Wilkin who have been there, done that, learned the lesson, and shared it. But once I’ve been reminded of these things, I have to make sure I’m still looking to the Bible first for daily fulfillment, and not a seemingly brilliant author and their own self-help book. Women of the Word is a great supplement, but it could never be a substitute for digging into and abiding in the Word of God.

I’m looking forward to sharing good Bible study habits from Jen’s book in Part II. You can find Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin on Amazon.

Forgive and Forget

Luke 1; John 1:1-14

Do you ever find yourself reading through something you know you’ve read before, maybe multiple times, and you still feel like you’re learning something for the first time? Like, how did I not see this before? Or maybe, how do I not remember reading this? That’s how I feel when I read the Bible. Obviously, it’s a big book, and there’s no way I could remember EVERYTHING in it, but man, how could I forget what seems like an important detail? Or at least, a detail you wouldn’t forget.

Besides being forgetful, though I most certainly am, I know God’s Word is “living and active.” It’s one way God continues to speak to us, and sometimes about different things at different times through the same passage. Today I was surprised to “learn” from Luke chapter 1 that Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s mother, was a daughter of Aaron, the first priest, brother of Moses and Miriam. Zechariah, Elizabeth’s husband, was “on duty” at the temple for his two weeks of the year when he was visited by the angel about Elizabeth’s future pregnancy. That said angel that appears to Zechariah is, in fact, Gabriel, the angel that appears to Mary, mother of Jesus, about her own future pregnancy. I enjoy details like this, even if I tend to forget what I consider “fun facts.”

What I hadn’t forgotten were the comforting words I was reminded of in John chapter 1: that because the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (v. 14), I was given the right to become a child of God (v. 12) and receive grace upon grace from Christ because of His own fullness of grace and truth (vv. 16-17).

I may feel forgetful most of the time, and I may not remember the details I once thought were so neat, but I will remember the themes that are ever-present and woven into my life. I have received undeserved forgiveness and grace because Christ is full of grace and truth. I don’t want to become self-absorbed in the minor details of my life; I want to view myself, my life, and the lives of others through this lens of Christ’s gracious forgiveness. I also know that in those moments of forgetfulness, whether while I’m reading scripture or how I am acting, Jesus is forgiving.

My challenge today is to be mindful of my perspective and to view life through this lens: because I am forgiven, I forgive; because I receive grace, I show grace.

Photo from The Chosen, Season 2, 2021

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