In Praise of Clover

Why a post on clover?  For a couple of reasons.  The clover in the photo above, taken this morning on the Somenos Dike Trail, reminds me of happy times.  When I was a child we used to pull the pink stems out of the flower head and suck out the sweet nectar. We used to search for 4-leaf-clover although I don’t remember if we ever found one. There was much wild clover in those days.  Years later when I babysat my granddaughter when she was a toddler, I taught her how to do that on a patch of the same kind of clover that we found near her home. I wonder if she remembers. Sadly that patch was mowed down and replaced with grass by the people who owned the land where the townhouse complex she lived in was located.  This seems to be the way now, there are not many places where wild things are left to themselves. I am very thankful that all wildflowers (or weeds if you prefer) on either side of the Somenos Dike Trail are left to themselves and they are a joy to behold.

My second reason to like clover is different.  We have white Dutch clover in our lawns, front and back.  The neighbour on the left side of us is not happy about this.  In fact, she told my husband quite a story of how her old neighbours had clover in their lawn and it blew to her lawn.  And by the way, (she asked) what was the white flower in our lawn? I am sure she knew that it is clover.  So this sent me on an online search about clover.  Is it a weed?  Is it beneficial to a lawn?  It turns out that both are correct, it is a weed but it is also beneficial.  I’m afraid our neighbour will not be pleased, but we are not getting rid of the clover.  Below is a great article on why clover is beneficial.:

http://www.hgtv.com/design/outdoor-design/landscaping-and-hardscaping/beneficial-clover-in-lawns

In quite another way a three-leaf-clover is a great way to teach children about the Trinity:  Father, Son and Holy Spirit..   as the clover leaf has three parts on one stem, so the Trinity is one.

1 John 5:7: For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

vcg

How My Husband Spent His Birthday..

Yesterday was my husband’s birthday. As it is with other days, we make no plans and see what the day will bring.  He had previously purchased birthday presents, we have no surprises here.  I said he needed new running shoes so that was from me.  He also got a wallet and a foam bed from Costco so he can nap outside on warm days.

But who knew what was going to happen when I mowed the front lawn?  There was a 6-year-old Nishiki Willow tree that was growing horizontally instead of vertically.  As beautiful as the new growth was with its white, light green and pink foliage, it was a tree that neither of us liked because it needed constant pruning.  In winter I was out at 3:00am shaking and knocking snow off the branches because they had flattened to a pancake.  But getting back to yesterday,  I was mowing the lawn and once again had to duck under the branches, so I asked husband to trim some of them off.  As he trimmed we talked about how we no longer liked the tree so in agreement, he got out his sabre saw and branch by branch down it came.  Then we looked at it and said “what have we done” because clean up was such a mess.  And as we cut branches into smaller branches and bound some of them up, neighbours came by and said “what did you do that for? it was so beautiful”..    but they didn’t have to mow around it nor do major trimming in Spring and other times of year, nor shake snow off at 3:00am.

After it was all cleaned up husband said “we are not going shopping to Dinters (a great local nursery) today to look for a new tree.”   But I know him, and he doesn’t like to leave things undone, so after lunch he suggested we go and “have a look”  which I knew would mean more than a look.  We looked at Japanese Maples but we have 8 varieties of those, so we finally agreed upon a Smoke Bush that has been grafted onto a tree trunk.  It was blooming and just beautiful!  I asked one of the people working at the nursery if the lovely soft blooms would hold up under a heavy sprinkling and she said that they have overhead sprinkling, so with that we purchased the tree and brought it home.  Then we went down to a local feed store to buy stakes for either side.  Below is the result.  Husband always has to have a project and I know that even though he was tired, he enjoyed doing it.

Photos taken at 6:00am, last night’s sprinkler drops are still on the blooms.

I think that it is beautiful..   below is a link to a page on Nishiki Willow so you can see what we had if you don’t know what it is.

http://www.midwestgardentips.com/hakuro-nishiki_dappled_willow.html

vcg

My Mother’s Grape Ivy

In November of 2012 my mother passed away and I became caretaker of her Grape Ivy plant.  The funny thing is though, that my mother was never a gardener.  I remember that when I was a child, my mother used to sit on the front lawn and try to find four-leaf-clovers but my father was the one who loved to plant and care for gardens.

My mother had a lot of house plants though, drought tolerant house plants.  🙂  The Grape Ivy above is at least 25 years old if not older.  She also had a wax plant which had such a strong fragrance when it bloomed, she used to cut off the flower buds.  Also a Christmas cactus.  The wax plant and cactus were very old, I remember the wax plant as a child.  It hung on an iron tripod built by my uncle.  Now both of these plants reside with my son and his family.

When I brought the grape ivy home in April of 2013 it was looking pretty sad, my brother said he had “thrown water on it a couple of times” between the time of my mother’s death and the following April.  When I brought it home I repotted it and trimmed it way back.  It sat on the top of a china cabinet from then until yesterday when I moved it to the top of an antique sideboard.

I hope that this plant will live a long time to come.  Perhaps when I am gone from this earth, it will move to my son’s to join the others.

vcg

Blooming Broom and Memories

The wild broom is blooming now. It is considered a weed by municipalities and they do their best to get rid of it but for me it brings back a memory of a very sad time which our Lord in his mercy and timing changed to joy.  The photo above was taken yesterday near the Cowichan Estuary while the photos below are of memories.

When I was a child there was a bush down the street we called the “little bush” where there were many broom plants.  We used to make crowns of the branches. In June of 2010, after babysitting my granddaughter for 2 or 3 days a week since 2005, her parents made the decision to move to Vancouver Island.  I was devastated at this upcoming loss of seeing them so often.  At the same time, our little malti-poo Jamie had developed epilepsy a few months before.

In early July of 2010 we took my granddaughter and Jamie to a place called Garry Point in Steveston BC for one last day trip.  There was a large stand of broom there, and I remembered how I used to make crowns of it so we stopped and made one for my granddaughter.  Below is a photo of me reaching for the broom.  My granddaughter is behind me.

Below is a photo of my granddaughter wearing the crown and of Jamie below her.  I am wearing a bag for Jamie in case he got too tired to walk.

Less than a month later, Jamie had died from the ravages of epilepsy, and my granddaughter had moved with her mom and dad to Vancouver Island.  My heart was broken.  I sold my car because I could no longer stand to drive it with the memories of her riding in the back in her car seat.

But God in his mercy moved us to Vancouver Island a year later.  He provided a buyer for our home a week after it was listed.  He provided a friend of my husband who had a big toy hauler to move us thus saving us the cost of expensive movers.  Our new home was in the country, a place I always wanted to live.  It was not large by modern standards, but it had everything we had always wished for.  It was/is located 1/2 hour from my granddaughter and her mom and dad.

My granddaughter is 13 now, a young lady becoming independent.  I don’t see her nearly as often as I used to but that’s OK.   I am grateful that the Lord, in his mercy, healed my broken heart.  I am thankful and realize that everything happened according to His plan for all of us.

vcg

Gramma What About God and Angels..

Gramma, what about God and angels, that is the question my 4-year-old grandson asked me so many years ago.  His mother, my daughter, had enrolled him in a pre-school called Jacob’s Ladder, a Christian pre-school, surely this was of the Lord.  It wasn’t long before she phoned me to say that my grandson was asking questions about God and angels and she couldn’t answer them and would I talk to him.  So one night my grandson slept over at our home and it was then that he asked me the precious question “Gramma, what about God and angels?” And so we talked about how God created the angels and then about creation, the Lord Jesus Christ, salvation in a simple way.

My husband and I were attending a brethren assembly at the time and I was teaching Sunday School to the pre-schoolers..  again, surely God’s timing.  With my daughter’s blessing we began to take my grandson every second Sunday to church with us where he was in my Sunday School class for 2 years after which his mother announced that he would no longer be coming with us.  But during those two years he had a lot of bible teaching.

One precious memory is when we put on a little Christmas program and my grandson at 4 played Joseph and another little girl played Mary.  They walked hand-in-hand down the aisle to the front of the chapel where they asked one of the boys if there was any room in the inn for them and then went to the stable..    another memory is another Christmas program where my grandson quoted the verse  Eccl. 12:1 “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth.”  but he memorized it in a simpler way “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth.”

I often wonder if my grandson remembers anything of the times he spent in Sunday School, or the time we talked about God and angels.  He is 25 years old now, we live in different areas and I seldom see him.  But I do hope that those things he learned so many years ago are still in his heart.

Here is Jacob’s Ladder perennial in my new garden, blooming now.  Every time I look at it, I think of those precious days. Evidently the plant was named for the way the leaves look like rungs on a ladder but I think it wonderful that it was named for something that takes place in the bible.  And sometimes I wonder if someone at the pre-school told the story of the angels ascending and descending the ladder in Jacob’s dream (Genesis 28:12)  and this stuck in my grandson’s mind so much that he told his mother, and that this led to his coming to Sunday school.  With God all things are possible.

vcg

 

Dance Recital Night.. and Other Memories

Tonight is my 13-year-old granddaughter’s dance recital.  This will be the 7th on Vancouver Island but the 8th in total as the first was when she was 5 years old.  Has it really been 10 years since we bought her first dancing leotard for her birthday at 3?  I remember her joy at receiving it, how she put it on right away and performed steps she had seen on “Angelina Ballerina”, an animated show on TV at the time.  I think that Angelina began a love for ballet in my granddaughter that has never left.  But now she also does tap, jazz, modern and lyrical jazz.  It fills my heart with joy to watch her.

But there are other memories too.  I babysat her 2 or 3 days a week when both her parents were at work, this from 18 months to 6 years old when her parents made the decision to move to Vancouver Island from the lower mainland of BC .I know that I was loving her too much,holding her too close to my heart.  I always remembered the verse “He that loveth…….son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37).   I wondered if I was loving my granddaughter too much in the Lord’s eyes.    It seemed I almost lost my mind when they moved, but through the grace of God we moved to Vancouver Island a year later although in a place south of them by 1/2 hour, a place where my husband spent his teenage years.  It was like coming home to him.  The Lord truly directed our steps to come here to this peaceful place and away from the busyness of the South Surrey area where we had previously lived.

Since we moved here I have not seen my granddaughter nearly as much as before.  She is a young lady now just having her 13th birthday this past March.  But she still loves dancing and is a girly girl.  I love her from a distance but not with the almost obsession as before.

As in a previous post, I have been able to give her wings.  I do take solace in the fact that when I was babysitting her I told her about God and about the Lord Jesus.  We sang Sunday School songs together although I doubt she remembers much.  Now in summer she goes to a Christian camp for a week and although they have a lot of fun things and entertainment, I surely do hope that the gospel is preached.  The Lord’s will be done.

Here is a photo of her first competition at 5, a little gingerbread girl.  I still remember the music and the dance.

 

Roots and Wings

Today I have been dwelling upon the subject of roots and wings..  I used to have a refrigerator magnet that said “there are two gifts we should give our children, one is roots and the other is wings.”   Raise your children the best you can and then let them go, but letting go is so very hard.  Why is that?  In Genesis 24, the servant of Abraham was sent to find a wife for Isaac, who was the son of Abraham.  The servant journeyed to the city of Nahor where he found Rebekah.  When told the reason for the servant’s visit, Rebekah had no hesitation in leaving her home and her family to follow the servant.  Gen 24:58 “And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go.”  And Rebekah journeyed to Isaac and became his wife and probably never saw her family again.  In the same way, Elisha left his father and mother to follow Elijah.  We don’t hear that he saw his parents again. 1 Kings 19:20 “…Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee….

I have been watching the birds in our yard lately, it being the season of breeding, birth and fledging.  In the past few days the little fledglings have been making their appearance in our yard where seed and water await them.  Their parents who have tended them in their babyhood now show them where food and water are found.  If the babies flutter their wings the parents feed them but only for a little while.  Then the babies are on their own, survival of the strongest begins.

Things are so different now.. but sometimes I wonder if it would be better if it was like in the days of Abraham and Elisha.  When our children reach the age of maturity, let them leave to find their husband or their wife and live their own lives.

These days, when we see our adult children struggling, there is the temptation to help but is this the wisest thing to do?  Lord give us wisdom.

My brother’s daughter chose to leave her home and her father in Canada and live in Mexico.  It was a shock to him when she left and he doesn’t see her now unless he travels to Mexico for a holiday, but I spoke to him yesterday and he said that she loves it there and “if she is happy, then I am happy.”  My brother has it right, I think.

vcg