Some good things noted in our gardens this year included:
- Plants from our local Master Gardener Plant Sale did really well at bargain prices; patience paid off by the end of the season for the new rose bush ($5) and 2 tomato plants ($1 each).
- Variegated liriope (with the purple flower spikes) was a great addition to our newest island bed (until the rabbits found them!)
- Around the flagstone patio, the hydrangeas, Japanese maple, dwarf mugo pine, and Golden Thread cypress have matured to form a nice screen between us and the neighbors.
- We got a nice showing from the (clumping) bamboo through continuous soil enhancements and 7 years of waiting.
- The hydrangea vine that now covers a great deal of the trellis by the front door bloomed for the 2nd Spring in a row after waiting 6 years.
- Elle continue to love drinking out of the bird bath almost as much as the birdies.
- The anise hyssop re-seeded itself at the base of the trellis on the left of the patio instead of the right this year.
- Walker’s Low Catmint is the most profuse blooming perennial I have ever seen.
- Painting the planters black that adorn the bird bath was a good idea, helping to keep the focus on the annuals planted within them.
- I got to make a lovely Fall wreath from our hydrangea blooms (picture to follow).
- Dahlias never disappoint; I’m glad I planted all 3 of them in the front yard this year.
- We are grateful for our first, ever-bearing harvest of blackberries since establishing the raised bed 4 years ago.
Footnotes for improvements next year:
- Put hardware cloth (wire fencing) in front of the mulch pile to keep out critters from dining on new additions.
- Move the wisteria by the left trellis and the cannas from between the trellises to sunnier areas.
- Install a new and permanent mylar deterrent above the bluebird house to scare off intruders. Ours blew off!
- Coach our plant sitters a little more carefully when we are away to keep the cucumbers from perishing.
- Thin out the native plant bed to help keep ahead of the lemon balm re-seeding and Catmint spreading.
- Re-work the new strawberry bed area to save time trimming around everything.
- Oh and about 15 other projects! Is a gardener’s work ever really done?
Thank you Lord for your bounty and beauty, the grace and strength to keep things going as best as I could, the blessings of sharing our harvest with others, and for a lovely view out my window on the days you know I needed it most. You are so good to me! JJ
Just when you think you’ve finally gotten on the road to something good the path can be blasted with a tempest beast of a hurricane, sending you smashing to the ground without a life preserver or anchor! But do not despair. The Lord Jesus Christ is still on the throne precious one.
Isaiah 55:8 New King James Version (NKJV)
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
The close of our evening in the wee hours of the morning was exceedingly traumatic, puzzling, and desperate. This sure is a mystery given that I have had some better blocks of a few hours at-a-time now that I am 3 months into IV treatments with antibiotics for chronic Lyme disease. Even an iodine protocol and infrared sauna treatments appear to be promising adjuncts to my treatment plan. Ahhhh, so much progress has been made these past 4 1/2 years yet still there are plenty of wacky lab findings: we’re talking dangerously low amounts of key nutrients, hormones, and healthy gut bacteria. Yet I have less pain some days, improved clarity of thought, and an ability to do some housework or gardening about once per week. The days largely spent bedbound have diminished from 4 to 1! And my score on a chronic Lyme symptom scale has gone down from 73 to 46. These are good!
James 1:2-4New King James Version (NKJV)
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
Some call setbacks that occur over a course of treatment “herxheimer” reactions. I call them a “healing crisis.” That is, until the particular breed of hell is so traumatic that extra healing is needed from the crisis itself on top of the serious illness. I’m talking about seizure attacks marked with screaming at the top of my lungs. Let’s add writhing movements lifting me off the bed as if embodied by a demon and intense, hysterical episodes of wailing with gushes of tears. What the heck is going on here? Flashes of terrifying scenes fill my “mind’s eye” alternating with the blackest darkness you can imagine. I press into the abyss with cries out to my beloved “Jesus” when I can, when I my mind allows me to do so. He is my only hope. Prayer mixes with shock. Breathing, prevention of injury, and concern for my hubby nearby fill any cracks in my thought processes when they return. Steve and I both leave the scene broken when the hell finally stops (tonight after over an hour had punched its way by us).
This all means that chronic/neuro Lyme disease is in my central nervous system and brain. This probably means that the treatments are now changing my neurochemistry and affecting the structures of my mind. This definitely confirms my worst fear that the path out of this hell to healing will be worse than the journey that got me here. So wretchedly sad. I guess I’ll just pray that the Lord strengthens me and Steve to get through it, pleading for mercy as we did tonight. Somewhere out there will be a message to inspire others yet again tonight that is not the case. This is a murderous mystery, killing every sense of sanity and magnifying many senses of suffering. I am o.k. in this moment, thankfully. It’s amazing what I can do sometimes on 2 hours of sleep just before the sunrise.
Psalm 119:147-149New King James Version (NKJV)
147 I rise before the dawning of the morning,
And cry for help;
I hope in Your word.
148 My eyes are awake through the night watches,
That I may meditate on Your word.
149 Hear my voice according to Your lovingkindness;
O Lord, revive me according to Your justice.
Hang with me, Gentle Reader. We are not giving up. We still have faith and still have hope. You don’t give up either with the challenges in your life too, k? We are holding out with the hope of blissful eternity for those in Jesus Christ and working our way back to the current day from there. The suffering, the trauma, the horror just makes for a better ending when telling a magnificent story. And when in my mind’s eye I also see the tear on the cheek of my Lord as He hung dying on a cross for me and you, I know that somehow, supernaturally, I will be delivered to a better place someday. How about if we meet there? So much goodness awaits us. I’ve really got to tell you about the Summerwine bush that is budding from where I transplanted it to my compost pile, ready for its new home this Spring . . . Someday it will burst forth into bloom (like me) once again! JJ