Nurturing Dreams of Green with my Late Winter Seed Order

Nurturing Dreams of Green with my Late Winter Seed Order

Planning a seed order in Maine in the month of March may be the ultimate act of optimism. Even so, I started dreaming about a row of basil back in February when my Colorado daughter-in-law introduced us to the wonders of pesto on pasta, initiating a string of questions for which I’m still seeking answers: 
What will be the yield of fragrant leaves from one basil plant?
Is a 68-day germination even realistic for this crazy Zone 5b life, compared to, say, the 50-days for green beans or for 58-day cucumbers?
Would it be better to can or freeze the pesto?

While I’m busy with all this speculation, I’m mindful, too, of the fact that I’m not alone in my preoccupation with seeds in late winter. Last year’s dandelion seeds, the latent violets, and the dormant offspring of multi-colored clover all lay waiting for their moment, and everyone will certainly make its appearance at just the right time. It seems that it’s the human element—me and my own imperfect timing—that introduces risk to the planting process.

The snow-covered earth is teeming with life, life, and more life, whether I can see it today or not. In just a few weeks, I’ll be planting seeds in warm earth, mowing down and pulling out the weeds which will sprout unbidden from intrusive seeds presently lying quietly under frozen crust.

But today is late-winter. The birds shiver on the feeder and the world is gray. Today, we wait.

We plan for spring. We nurture dreams of green. We turn our faces away from death and look toward resurrection, for this is the lesson God has built into all seeds:

Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

John 12:24

What dormant gifts, hidden capacities for service to the world are buried under the “snow” of caution or inattention? Do you dare to dream of a pesto-sized harvest of righteousness in your following life, even if it means something else has to die?

What a great loss to the Kingdom of God when we choose to remain a seed, safe in the package but never producing the fragrant harvest God dreams for us!

Holding you the Light,

We plan for spring. We nurture dreams of green. We turn our faces away from death, looking toward resurrection. This is the lesson God built into seeds: Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies it remains a single seed.

And Now, Let’s Talk Books…

Demystifying Decision-Making

Brace yourself for a deep dive and a solid gospel orientation to the age-old dilemma of decision-making. In Demystifying Decision-Making, Aimee Joseph anticipates some of the most perplexing aspects of choice and then follows up with fear-fighting truth to counter FOMO, regret, and self-doubt.

Her governing principle is the necessity of good theology to carry into the decision-making process. Drawing on the work of John Frame, Joseph contrasts humanity’s narrow perspective with God’s ability to see all things from every possible perspective. Too, most of us are far too short-sighted in our concern over the will of God. God’s will for you and me is Christlikeness, a goal that far transcends today’s major purchase or this year’s career trajectory.

Four major points captured my attention and will stay with me going forward:

  1. God has invited us to “set all our decisions on the eternal timeline.” What appears in the present moment to be a colossal failure may turn out to have a hugely redemptive impact. The crucifixion is our pattern for taking this long view of our short lives.
  2. Our desires matter, but they are not the only thing that matters. Some of us have been trained by our Christian sub-culture to discount or distrust our desires, imagining that God will purposely send us where we don’t want to go or require of us what we don’t want to do. Of course, on the other end of the see-saw is Team This-Feels-So-Good-It-Must-Be-God’s-Will.”

    Both ends of the spectrum get it wrong, for our feelings are not ultimate, nor are they irrelevant to God. Rather, “in prayer and meditation, we bring our desires into the presence of God and invite his searching gaze and shaping hands.”
  3. Wrong decisions are not fatal to our relationship with God. In fact, “we are always only one decision away from our heavenly Father’s arms.” No matter where you are today in your relationship with God, deeper intimacy is a choice which will be strengthened and supported with every successive Spirit-led decision.
  4. Make every decision with an eye on your destination. Created for glory, we will one day fulfill our ultimate purpose. Designed for decision-making, we draw near to our Designer as we trust his leading through every surrendered drop of our poured-out life.

Wrong decisions are not fatal to our relationship with God. In fact, “we are always only one decision away from our heavenly Father’s arms.” Aimee Joseph #DemystifyingDecisionMaking via @crossway

Life Is Sweet, Y’All

When one of God’s women pauses on her fruitful way, takes up a pen, and begins sharing the harvested wisdom from her faithful following, I’m all ears. If she happens to add a southern twang to the delivery, well, so much the better. In  Life Is Sweet, Y’all: Wit and Wisdom with a Side of Sass, Maggie Wallem Rowe shares a collection of brief devotionals with a vintage look and a down-home feel.

Rowe manages to address weighty topics with a light touch, memorable metaphors, and solid truth with its roots deep in scriptural wisdom. For instance, who doesn’t need to be reminded that “we can’t always keep our names out of other peoples’ mouths, but we sure as shootin’ can hush our own when we’re tempted to pass on stories that aren’t ours to tell”? With recipes “just like Mom used to make” and a generous handful of helpful hints that range from getting rid of fruit flies and cleaning silverware to random cooking and cleaning hacks, Rowe has created a gift book that will appeal to a wide range of women.

Best of all, she’s done her homework in curating a spot-on Scripture verse for each entry and dozens of relevant quotations drawn from her years of reading and study. If you read and enjoyed  This Life We Share, you’ll be “happy as a  hound dog with two tails” to continue harvesting wisdom from Maggie’s faithful following life. (You’ll find my review of Maggie’s first book HERE.)

Life Is Sweet Y’All is a devotional gift book in which Maggie Wallem Rowe offers solid truth with roots deep in scriptural wisdom–and a bit of southern sass. via @TyndaleHouse

Many thanks to Crossway and Tyndale for providing copies of these books to facilitate my reviews which are, of course, offered freely and with honesty.

And One Last Thing…

Right now I’m offering two free gifts to NEW newsletter subscribers.

First, I’ve developed a free guided meditation to encourage you in a deep dive into the truth of Psalm 46:1: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” I’ve found that the surest antidote for the poison of the lies we tell ourselves is LARGE doses of truth, and I’m committed to the process of helping women to become confident Christ-followers and students of God’s Word.

Second, if you are a bookish individual, perhaps you’d appreciate some help in writing book reviews? I’ve created a resource sharing some tried and true tips that have come from writing hundreds of book reviews for Living Our Days and other sites. I have loved pointing my readers toward the good stuff that’s out there, and if that’s your goal, too, I want to help you.

Simply click on the button below to receive one or both of these free gifts…

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I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and an affiliate of The Joyful Life Magazine, two advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees. If you should decide to purchase any of the books or products I’ve shared, simply click on the image, and you’ll be taken directly to the seller. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Photo by imso gabriel on Unsplash

54 thoughts on “Nurturing Dreams of Green with my Late Winter Seed Order”

  1. Michele,
    Pesto is one of my favorites!! You can also use it to make delicious Chicken Pesto pizza. My daughter who is prolific when it comes to creating delicious recipes discovered this and it’s a new favorite in her family.
    As for the potential that lies dormant in all of us, I’m grateful God sees every seed within us and calls it to spring forth like my dahlia bulbs that have emerged from our 9b soil. Our spring is short-lived for summer in Florida is selfish and wants all fun and glory. But Spring is my favorite, like you said, life and it’s potential is just waiting for it’s moment to come forth and bear fruit that remains.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The pizza sounds amazing! And I appreciate your thoughts on Florida gardening. There are challenges in every Zone, and I guess there’s a lesson there as well. We have to work with the climate where God has placed us–the potential and the drawbacks.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes and it’s the same with our circumstances. Whatever we’re facing God’s Word addresses what we need to press on. I appreciate you so much, Michele.

        Like

  2. Michele, growing basil seems like a worthy endeavor, especially since fresh basil costs so much at the grocery store. My attempts at growing herbs of any kind always fall flat, though, so if you have success with it, I hope you you write about it! The dying part of the life cycle (for a seed or a person) isn’t very much fun, but I’m thankful that God uses those dormant seasons to grow life within us and prepare us for what’s next.

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    1. Yes, I’ve been looking at those fresh herb prices, and also remembering the price for basil seedlings, so I do want to try starting some plants from seeds…
      Which I guess I had better get started on, even though my garden in covered in snow right now!

      Like

  3. Yum pesto! We are in our Autumn here in Australia now Michele.
    Our self sown tomato plants that produced a delicious harvest the whole Summer are finished, our nectarine tree is loosing it’s leaves & the strawberry plants are looking like they might give some fruit yet.
    Seasons of life are the same aren’t they… we need the seasons of rest & the seasons of harvest… 🤔
    Blessings,
    Jennifer

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  4. Michelle,
    we just had 7 inches of snow on the weekend but temps. will rise into the 50’s this week so Spring is slowly trying to make an appearance here in NEPA…Thanks so much for stopping by!! And I do not view my Seasonal decorating as “work” but as “play”!! LOL!
    Hugs,
    Deb

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  5. What a lovely post! Like others who posted here, we had the snowpocalypse on Saturday. I’m anxious to see if my new plantings survive. But the snow was lovely and the icicles spectacular!

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  6. I too nurture dreams of green, but what struck me most here was “unless” it dies. Dying is where the life is…
    Thank you for this lovely post!

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  7. I bought an herb dehydrator for this next season – I am so excited to finally master harvesting my herbs (I am a slow learner). This quote: ” Do you dare to dream of a pesto-sized harvest of righteousness in your following life, even if it means something else has to die?” – what a sensory and soul visual you’ve given! Giving of ourselves leads to life and life everlasting – not just in our gardens, but others, too!

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    1. Well, I guess we’ll be sailing into uncharted waters together, won’t we? Keep me posted…
      (Of course, we’re months away from planting outside here in the snowy north, but I do need to begin thinking about seedlings.)

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  8. Wonderful metaphor, Michele! In my gardening season of life I really struggled with committing seeds to earth… They were mine while in the package and they might not sprout in the cold earth (esp if my timing or the ever lurking slugs were bad)… But what an obvious lesson in faith. As for Basil, I grow it on an indoor windowsill (all season) from seed, getting past seedling stage successfully can be tricky. Loves warmth and lots of light. Then I harvest repeatedly pruning it right back through the summer, finely chopping up small batches of leaves, coating with olive oil and freezing in What proclaims the richest and most golden harvests that wave on all the hills of heavenly rapture? The snows, the deep snows, the awful snows of earthly calamity. And that thought is one of the treasures of the snow.Ziplocks… for pesto made later or just adding to anything! One fertilized plant can yield quite a harvest. I still have last year’s harvest in the freezer.
    I wish you faith and fruitfulness in your every endeavour!
    Oh and I don’t know if you happened to see Challies post on the kind of life that yields the richest harvests but it’s a good companion to your thought…’even if it means something else has to die’.
    https://www.challies.com/quotes/the-snows-the-deep-snows-the-awful-snows/

    Like

    1. Thanks for the link. I think I missed that one in the hay mow of emails. Thanks for all the basil wisdom. I am thinking that your approach may be the way to go for us. I have a hangover of mass production from having fed four starving boys for so long, but I guess a whole row of basil would be overkill for two people who rarely eat pasta anymore.
      Heading over to read the post now!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Just this afternoon I was researching when pansies can be planted in Zone 6, wanting some color in our deck planter before the traditional planting date, May 15. Pansies are such a cheerful flower–resilient too–able to withstand the cold. Between my pansy-thoughts and your post, Michele, I’m thinking a life of resilience is a dream worth aspiring to. Just like pansies I can remain cheerful and strong–even during the cold winds of distress (Nehemiah 8:10; Philippians 4:13). What needs to die are the weeds of anxiety and fear.

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    1. How true for me, too, Nancy. Cheerfulness is definitely an under-rated strength, and it’s in short supply in our world. Thanks for bringing some with you with these thoughts of delightful pansies and the hope of spring around the corner.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I remember Elisabeth Elliot pointing out (somewhere) that if we want resurrection life and power, first something has to die. We can’t have resurrection without first experiencing death. If we remembered the new life and growth to come, instead of clinging to what we don’t want to die, we’d be less likely to hold back (preaching to myself here, the champion of holding back for fear of loss). Weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

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  11. Michele, I love your gardener’s heart. And, isn’t pesto A-MA-ZING?! I love it too. though I usually end up buying fresh basil from the grocery store to make mine. I haven’t been brave enough to try growing basil. 🙂 I so appreciate your exhortation to be that seed that gets out of its bag and into the ground to start growing.

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  12. Michele, I so appreciated the analogy between seeds and dreams. May our lives experience a growth spurt, bear fruit, and bring Him honor.

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  13. Pesto sauce with pasta is so lovely! It will be interesting to hear how you get on with growing Basil from scratch. We’ve had little indoor Basil plants before, but from little seedlings. I love the Spring. Thank you for joining us for the #DreamTeam 🙂

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  14. Seeds are such a wonderful metaphor for all the potential we have inside us aren’t they? I love planting new things and seeing them grow. Good luck with your basil seeds. #DreamTeam

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  15. I love pesto! I think it goes with almost everything! Well, anyway, it’s snowy here, too, so I’ll keep dreaming of the green shoots that I know are there under the snow. But isn’t it exciting in these cold climates when you see the first shoots. And it’s so exciting, too, to see budding talents and interests in children and grandchildren.

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    1. I think we do appreciate the arrival of GREEN more because we are starved for it for so many months. And I appreciate your thoughts on seeded talents and gifts in our kidlets!

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  16. Optimism is the perfect word for me right now. Spring is here and I am planning my garden with hopes and dreams of new life! Thank you for linking up.

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  17. I hope you can grow lots of basil! Pesto is my favorite thing from my herb garden! Ate some today on past! Grow tons!

    Thanks for sharing this at the Sunday Sunshine Blog Hop!

    Laurie

    Like

  18. Spring offers hope and a renewal of life, it feels like we can finally look ahead and grow. The last couple of years I feel like the world has been on hold but now it feels like change is in the air. Thanks for linking up with #DreamTeam

    Like

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