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The Scent of A Scripture-Grounded Whisper

by Cathy Baker

 

One thing I’ve learned about the whispers of God this month is that they cannot be manufactured, only experienced. 

So when I felt I was coming up empty for a post, I moved outside for inspiration. 

I inhaled deeply while walking past the scrawny, but intoxicating, Winter Honeysuckle shrub. I thought of my uncle Jim who, in his final months this side of heaven, loved when I would snap off a branch and bring it to him.

I paused at the Red Buckeye Tree nearby, seeing it not so much for what it is now but what it will become in just a few weeks. Panicles of red flowers will greet our giddy ‘hood of hummingbirds very soon!

Winter Honeysuckle Bush

And then there were the white/red striped camellias and daffodils. Both reminded me of my grandmothers. Grandmother loved ole-timey jonquils and Ma-Ma loved the camellias. I grow both as a nod to them and the beauty they brought—and continue to bring—to my life, even though they’ve been in heaven for years. 

As I made my way back to the house, I recalled Isaiah 61:11.

Red Buckeye Tree Preparing to Bud
Daffodil and Camellias from my yard

For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to
grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up
before all nations.

Just as His whispers cannot be manufactured nor can His blessings. He uses the picture of a growing garden to show that He alone is able to miraculously engineer a simple seed to bring forth life from the soil. All we can do is make the environment right for the seed to grow to maturity. 

Similarly, we can’t force or make God’s blessings happen but the heart can provide the right environment for His blessings to grow in and through our lives. 

His whispers are always grounded in Scripture. 

There it was, God’s whisper. It’s the beauty of the Word, for if we’re willing to listen, He is always willing to speak.

All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.” Psalm 66:4

Friday Fave: Winter in Bloom

Blooming in my yard today. 
The first two – Winter Daphne and Winter Honeysuckle –
fill the air with Spring-like fragrance.

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,


with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness 
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?

– excerpt from Peonies, Mary Oliver (a favorite poet of mine)

History. I Dig It.

The older I get, the more I enjoy history. I’m intrigued by the stories buried behind our nation, our state, our foundational beliefs, and much more. On a smaller scale, I also enjoy having plants with a “history” in my yard. Like these…

Chapter I: These flowers came from one of my grandmother’s (Alberta Scott) yard in Fairforest SC. She and my grandfather had to leave their home of 50+ years when their health began to fail. On the day before closing, I was given permission to dig up whatever plants I wanted from the yard. I chose her tea roses, one hydrangea bush and a few Amaryllis bulbs (see pictures below)


Chapter II: From my other grandmother, Elsie Knighton, who recently passed away, I received a Carolina Allspice shrub. Grandmother’s shrub came from her mother’s yard and her mother’s shrub came from her sister’s yard, a great-great-Aunt I never knew. How cool is that? I’m currently rooting a few roses cuttings from grandmother’s rose bush, which originated in her mother’s yard as well. (no pictures)

Chapter III: About 10-15 years ago, I came upon an ad in a local paper from an elderly woman, Mrs. Miriam Snow, who was selling old-timey daffodils. She wore a brimmed hat and had the spunk of a 20 year old woman. I remember thinking how I wanted to be like her at that age — hoeing, digging up plants and planting bulbs in full expectation of being there the following season to see them bloom. I continued going back for more plants every year up until a few years ago, when she developed Alzheimers. Mrs. Snow was an aficionado of daylilies and I treasure the ones I was able to dig up over the years. Here are some of my favorites, including a Bottlebrush Buckeye Shrub that came from her yard.






Chapter IV: One day, Karen Trone dropped by to ask me if I’d be interested in digging up some siberian iris from an elderly woman’s home here in town. Karen had spotted the beautiful purple irises growing in her yard and stopped to ask if she could dig up one for her yard. An elderly woman, Mrs. Mabry, answered the door and shared her sad story of having to move out of her home because of health reasons. The bulldozer would be flattening the house soon, in hopes of selling the land. She was delighted that another “yard person” would want to rescue her plants and enjoy them as much as she had over the years. We went back, visited awhile and then we started digging. Karen and I were spotting anything in bloom! I dug up a hydrangea, Rose of Sharon, wild roses and iris. Here’s what started it all:


Chapter V: And last, but not least, here’s the only plant in our yard that bloomed when we moved in… a 40+ year old camellia:


Since moving in to our circa 1911 home a few years ago, we’ve added hundreds of blooming shrubs and flowers for someone to enjoy… one day when I’m history!

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