Monthly Archives: July 2023

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: My Garden Runneth Over

And so it begins. The cucumber flood. The tomato avalanche. The squash tsunami. OMG, we give thanks! And … could You remind me where I hid the food processor?

Bambi, You Blew It

Image from Jean-Louis Servais from Pixabay.

As a child, did you watch the Walt Disney film, “Bambi”?

I didn’t, but my second grade class read the adorable fawn’s story. I hoped a friendly deer like Bambi would let me ride on his back. However, sightings during the 1960s in Indiana, even at my family’s woodland cabin, were rare.

Years later, when deer overpopulation resulted in state park hunts, I was appalled. How could they shoot Bambi?

Image by OTH Amberg-Weiden from Pixabay.

A herd in Oregon’s Willowa-Whitman National Forest helped me realize why. Our children opened car windows to pet them. Those hijackers tried to poke their heads inside. If Hubby hadn’t closed the windows, we’d have lost both kids and upholstery.

Also, my dad’s truck and a deer collided. With big-time damage to the animals, as well as vehicles, you’d think they’d look both ways.

Riding our tandem bike, Hubby and I have managed to spot deer before they get too close and personal — except for one incident, when a fawn ran alongside our bike for 100 yards.

Lovely creature, with trusting eyes.

He almost reconverted me — until we and our garden moved near town’s edge. Groups hang around our nearby church. Holy instincts? No. Those thieves never learned the Ten Commandments.

Images for WikiImages from Pixabay.

I imagine their eating-out conversations:

Stag: I’m sick of corn.

Doe: Eat soybeans.

Stag: Same-o, same-o. Let’s go to Phillipses’ Golden Corral. Now, there are beans.

Doe: They’re wonderful, but the servers aren’t very nice.

Stag: That weird one swung a hoe at me.

Doe: Maybe if you tipped her—

Stag: Why? She’s an animal!

My weirdness as well as deer repellent haven’t saved our green beans. One deer apparently stuck its head in a tomato cage. Hubby and I, puzzled at the cage’s disappearance, searched without success. A neighbor brought it to us, mangled almost beyond recognition.

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay.

Have the deer learned their lesson?

In a word, no.

The Internet bristles with suggestions of how to get rid of them: grow marigolds, garlic, lavender and mint, or hang soap, old CDs and pie pans nearby. Avoiding chemicals, gardeners spray concoctions of egg, liquid dish soap, garlic and/or hot sauce. Engineering types suggest motion-activated flashing lights or ultrasonic deer repellers. Others build ten-foot fences.

I could add a watchtower. And order a bazooka from Amazon Prime.

Bambi, you blew it.

This “server” is about to get serious.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Is Bambi still your BFF? Why or why not?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Some Need to Go Back to Driver’s Ed

O Lord, thank You for those who obey road signs. OMG, do You think this one might help remind those — especially Lord of the Rings fans — who don’t?

Image by Vickie Hamilton from Pixabay.

Flower Child

Image by wal_172619 from Pixabay.

Trendy, multicolored foliage is attractive. Sophisticated.

But bunches of leaves don’t excite me. Flowerpots and flower beds should contain flowers.

My mom’s Rose of Sharon ladies often graced the tea parties my sister and I gave.

As a child, I cherished my mother’s roses. Is there such a thing as too much love? Probably, as I nosed them frequently. Mom also created Rose of Sharon ladies for my sister and me. Turning the bell-shaped flowers upside down, she made petal gowns and attached blossoming buds for headdresses. Voila! Ladies at an elegant tea party.

I prefer flowers to pets. They don’t bark or yowl under my window at midnight. They never awaken me at six a.m.

My passion sent me — er, my husband — into our grass-only backyard with his mighty tiller. This sun-fried area already had killed redbuds, lilacs and a rosebush. To console me, Hubby had built an arbor on which we hung pots of geraniums and petunias. Most survived. Sufficient … for a while.

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay.

This flower child wanted more. Vision of multicolored loveliness danced through my head.

Hubby wasn’t into visions. He’s all about measurements. “How long do you want this flower bed? How wide? Square? Rectangle?”

“I want an oval.”

If I’d shaped the flower bed, it would have resembled a giant amoeba. Using his trusty tape measure, though, Hubby designed a perfect, 15-foot oval. Then he tackled removing sod.

I ordered bulk seeds. No more skinny packets for this flower child. No more dead, expensive perennials. My oval would teem with thrifty zinnias, cosmos and marigolds that love to sunbathe. They defy weeds. They may even chomp on them at night.

Although five pounds of seeds amounted to, um … a lot.

“Let’s fill the yard with marigolds,” I told Hubby. “You’ll never have to mow again.”

Image by Bishnu Sarangi from Pixabay.

“Sure. If you want to dig out all the sod.”

I withdrew my motion.

Having raked compost and manure (hey, I worked, too), I broadcast seeds throughout my oval, then sowed them in other flower beds. Offered them to friends. Sneaked baggies of seeds into mailboxes at night.

Now, yellow, pink, orange, red, fuchsia and white blossoms dip and wave in a lovely backyard ballet.

Enough flower power for even this flower child.

I haven’t used/given away all my seed. New amoeba-shaped flowerbeds may be in my future.

And if you check your mailbox for baggies, maybe in yours?

Even Hubby agrees the work was worth it.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What are your favorite summertime flowers?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Yum!

O Lord, You invested so much sunshine and rain in this first tomato from my garden. You must have thought it was worth it.

Investing aches, pains and Tylenol in pulling these weeds, I wasn’t sure. …

Until I tasted this fruit? vegetable? of our labors.

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay.

OMG, You were right! As usual.

The Best Pick

Image by borislagosbarrera from Pixabay.

Does blueberry picking sound like a Fun Time to you?

Bribery convinced my small children: “If we don’t get thrown out of the patch, we’ll hit the bakery later.”

Often, they were too full of berries to finish doughnuts, so Mom obliged them.

Image by Anya1 from Pixabay.

I also considered it a rare productive activity, defined as: we made it to a potty in time; no one went to the ER; and I wasn’t nominated for Bad Mother of the Year. Plus, some berries came home.

Years later, our son invited Hubby and me to pick blueberries with his family.

Five-year-old Jonathan bragged, “I’ll pick 35 times 72 pounds!”

Ty the Little Guy wore the world’s cutest sun hat, appropriate for the world’s cutest toddler.

Arriving at the farm, we walked past fields of blueberry bushes. And walked. And walked.

Soon, both boys would need naps. Or Grandma would.

A guide finally assigned us a row abounding in big, juicy berries.

Image by Artur Pawlak from Pixabay.

Our tall son and Hubby handled top branches. I covered the bushes’ midsections. I also resigned myself to picking lower branches — and sleeping on a heating pad that night. The boys will grab just enough blueberries to eat and dye their skins.

Jonathan disagreed. “I’m little, but I can pick lots!”

Ty, however, had a beef. Everyone but him received a white bucket. Fill someone else’s? A fate worse than death.

Eventually, he decided Daddy’s bucket would do. Ty dragged it up and down rows, popping through bushes and batting long-lashed, brown eyes at other pickers.

Above flirting, Jonathan picked continuously for more than an hour!

Grandma’s feet gave out. We adjourned to weigh and pay. Ty allowed Daddy to tote his bucket and carry him on his shoulders.

“You’re heavy, Ty. How many berries did you eat?”

Little Guy’s smeary face somehow looked innocent.

“I’ll pay extra.” Daddy sighed. “Next time, I’ll weigh him before and after.”

Blueberry cheesecake, here we come!

Jonathan didn’t accumulate 2,520 pounds of berries (35 x 72), but the five pounds he and Daddy picked made him happy.

A productive day. Even Grandma and Grandpa made it to a clean potty in time. Nobody went to the ER. Daddy wasn’t nominated for Bad Parent of the Year, though he forgot to give Ty a bucket.

We had a berry Fun Time.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Do you have a favorite fruit-picking memory?

In the small town where our children grew up, Plymouth, Indiana, 500,000 people attend the Blueberry Festival every year–the setting for a book I wrote several years ago.

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Gratitude for the Itty-Bitty and the Ginormous

O Jesus, I could thank You for a million blessings, but that wouldn’t even cover today’s gifts. I’m grateful for tiny things like working in my favorite jammies.

For cosmic things like the fact that our sun hasn’t ditched this galaxy and run away to Andromeda.

Photo by Adam Krypel from Pixabay.

But OMG, most of all, I thank You for Your infinite love — big enough to embrace the universe. Small enough to fit perfectly inside my heart.


“We are all of us from birth to death guests at a table we did not spread.”

—Rebecca H. Davis
Image by Robert Wegner from Pixabay.

Has an uninvited guest ever brought suitcases to your house? Plus, a hostile pet named Lovey?

When I was growing up in a pastor’s home, uninvited guests were the norm. Many brought suitcases and — if not Loveys — equally mean kids.

A penniless evangelist, his wife and five children spent several weeks. Again, my siblings and I slept on the floor. I worked overnight at Denny’s. Once, during a rare nap, a kid poised a pipe at my window and bellowed like a mastodon.

Another incident involved a lady preacher named Bunny who often stayed with us. One night, Dad, who also worked construction, arrived home after everyone had retired. He climbed into bed beside Mom.

Image by Alexa from Pixabay.

One thought, though, struck like lightning. Hadn’t Mom said Bunny was staying overnight?

His pastor’s heart stopped. Dad yanked covers from the huddled heap beside him.

Mom glared. “Bunny’s coming Friday, not tonight!”

I could hardly wait until college, where I’d take control of my life.

One weekend, an unknown force roused me from sleep, swinging me in circles. Surely, a nightmare. …

No. The girl — half my size! — swinging me was real. So was my roommate, giggling up and down the scale.

Image by Alana Jordan from Pixabay.

I gasped to the stranger, “Who are you?”

“I’m Vicky!”

“Vicky, please put me down.”

She deposited me on my bed, singing, “O Lord, Won’t You Buy Me a Color TV?”

Other giggling, melodious strangers gathered. I took refuge in another party pooper’s room. Unfortunately, my discussion with my roommate afterward was not the last.

So … uninvited-weird-people incidents were not confined to parsonages.

That lesson has been confirmed again and again. Unlike our late parents, though, my siblings and I have placed gated fences around our lives.

Though uninvited, I couldn’t help welcoming these petunias that popped up between cracks on my patio.
Image by F. Muhammad from Pixabay.

Recently, I reflected on hospitality as I watered uninvited cosmos, seeded from last year’s planting. Volunteer zinnias inundate marigold borders. I never planted those petunias, yet they invade our premises, looking wild … and wonderful.

How did Mom and Dad’s uninvited guests ultimately respond to kindness? Perhaps some, like disruptive flowers, are blooming in the place God — not people — prepared for them.

Most humans need fences to ensure safety and well-being.

But maybe I’ll leave my gate open more often.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: How do you react to the uninvited?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Praying and Partying

Image by Mary Pahlke from Pixabay.

O Lord, thank You for our nation. We pray for your continued generosity in preserving us and our freedom. May we celebrate big-time with family, friends and fireworks — that, hopefully, won’t keep tired babies, panicked dogs and cranky old people awake all night.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay.
Image by Brett Hondow from Pixabay.