Tag Archives: gardening

First harvest!

Today, I harvested my first produce of the year here in the Philadelphia area. Anyone guess what the produce is? Hint, it grows outdoors (no greenhouse) and is a perennial.


Filed under Uncategorized

Gardening illustration that works for persistent problems in life

5 years ago a friend of mine asked if I wanted some purple cone flowers for my flower garden around my house.

Having admired them in other gardens, I said yes and promptly planted them in a spot next to some other flowers. Turns out they were Brown Eyed Susans, a relative of the intended flower. And, further, they spread terribly. I enjoyed them the first summer but began ripping them out the next year as they spread through the iris and choked out some other plantings.

Now, some five years later, I am still pulling these plants. They grow and spread quickly. I never let them flower but pull them as soon as I can make sure I get them and not another plan that might be right in the same spot. When I pull them I know that some little root fiber remains and so I’ll be back pulling again in a week or so.

The truth is I will never be free from these plantings. I do have some choices:

  • ignore them and let them take over the garden (BTW, they would be fine in an isolated spot surrounded by grass so they couldn’t take over another planted area)
  • be irritated that I can’t get rid of them and thus fail to see the beauty around them
  • stay vigilant but enjoy the garden
  • try shock and awe by killing everything in that spot.

I find this is much like our persistent life problems. Whether by naive choice or by something beyond our control, we develop persistent struggles with things like anxiety, depression, addictions, relational challenges, etc. While God sometimes provide miraculous removal of these struggles, we rarely find complete freedom from these kinds of struggles. We may not be in crisis mode forever, but total relaxation and assumption of no return of the problem is rare also.

So, we too have some choices:

  • be angry and bitter that the problem continues to have some place in our life
  • blame others for our problems
  • ruminate on why only we seem to have these problems
  • try shock and awe and so destroy lots of other things
  • accept the need to stay vigilant, going after the roots and shoots as soon as we notice them.

Does this illustration work for you?


Filed under addiction, Anxiety, christian counseling, christian psychology, Christianity, counseling, Depression

Marking the end of summer?

How do you mark the end of summer? Or are you rather likely to deny the change that happens in September for most?

For me, I will continue to grill until it is too dark to see what I’m doing at dinner time. I will spend time outside biking or sitting–maybe even more time once those pesky mosquitoes freeze their wings off. I’ll still need to mow my lawn…

So, marking the end of summer for me comes with some sort of canning activity and the consumption of funnel cake. I had my cake last week but have yet to can something. But I haven’t had time to do any canning yet. So, as far as I’m concerned, summer is yet to end even though Wednesday marks the real beginning of the semester with a faculty meeting.

Pickles anyone?


Filed under gardening

Enjoying the warmth in frigid PA

On Friday I couldn’t help but erect my greenhouse. It snowed on Sunday night. 2 years ago I did the same and the snow crushed my poor greenhouse. This time, my pvc structure survived. And though it is not going to get above 25 today, I will enjoy a warm and sunny 70.

I may or may not grow anything in it this year, but it sure does a world of good for my mental health. For less than 100 dollars and the ability to tolerate something rather ugly in your back yard, you too can have the next best thing to a great therapist. (Shh, it’s even better because you don’t keep paying for it each time you use it!)


Filed under gardening

If I wasn’t a psychologist…

I think I’d like to run a mission oriented suburban farming coop. Here’s the idea: Get a block of neighbors to agree to use space in their back yards for small 10×10 gardens. Each family that participates agrees to let the coop manager plant and cultivate small organic gardens. One family would have tomatoes, one would grow squashes, another would grow cukes, another peppers, etc. All the families would have to do is agree to let the manager use their water. If they wanted to participate in the weeding and care of the plants then they would get free produce when it arrived. Once the produce arrived, it would be offered for a “suggested donation” which would be far below grocery store price. The benefit to the neighbors and anyone else coming by would be that they could have access to “locally grown, organic, low-cost, very fresh produce” for their family. Such savings on the produce could be calculated showing that the coop is helping to keep the money of the community in the community.

Now, here’s the kicker. The “suggested donation” would not only cover the costs of growing the produce but allow for a small profit to be used entirely for missions work in an impoverished community, whether in the city or in another country. So, the food we would get for a donation would actually be working to feed individuals in another location.

Okay, so I’ve spent too much time daydreaming this summer…

What visions have you had that would take you in another direction?


Filed under Christianity, gardening