Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Lessons Learned by a Not-As-Gimpy Gardener

I'm two weeks post arm surgery now.  

The stitches have been removed! 
I am not 100% just yet, 
but complete recovery is within reach :-)  

And you know what that means...

diggin' in the dirt! 

I have been studying the book of Isaiah this year, and in Isaiah 38:16-17, Hezekiah writes:

"You restored me to health and let me live. 
Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish."

I thought I'd reflect back on some the benefits I have received and the lessons I've learned through my little gimpy gardening glitch.

*  *  * 
We take so much for granted.  

Ever complained about pulling weeds?   When even the slightest tug on a weed brings pain in your arm and you are forced to stop, suddenly you'd give anything just to be able to have the use of your arm again so you could pull those weeds.  The next time you can pull weeds (or do anything) with both arms, give thanks.  Count your many blessings.

When our life gets out of balance, God will correct that imbalance. 
In a 24-hour day we've got 8 hours for sleeping, 8 hours for working, and 8 hours for enjoyment.   When one area of our life gets out of balance, another area will suffer.  If we sleep too much, we won't get anything done.  If we play too much, we can't pay our bills.   If we work too much -- well, you know what they say about being all work and no play.    Sometimes we suffer emotionally with stress; sometimes we suffer the consequences physically.   Take some time and evaluate how you can bring balance back into your life.

The power of prayer is amazing!  

To know that others are lifting you up in prayer is so encouraging, and brings peace even in the midst of difficult circumstances.  And to pray for others reminds us that it's not all about us!

Trials can bring unexpected blessings.   

When I could no longer do physical work, I started my garden blog, and a whole new gardening world opened up to me on Blotanical.   I also met many new people at my church when I was forced to ask for help in the landscape ministry.    So many were willing to help; all I had to do was ask.  And I have found a wonderful crew to work with in doing the spring maintenance pruning for my clients -- and they have power tools!  

 My garden does not need me; I need it. 

I love perennials even more.  When I was not able to tend to my garden, it just kept on blooming and growing and bringing color and joy into my life. 

Oh, Lord, it's hard to be humble.   

I think the Number One thing I learned is that it is okay to ask for help.  I have never wanted to ask for help because I always thought I wasn't a "real gardener" if I didn't do it all by myself.   I took great pride in my accomplishments.   I didn't trust anyone else to do it right, and I didn't want to give up control.

One day when I was visiting some other blogs, 
I came across these wise words from Carol at May Dreams Gardens
in this post...

Achieving Happiness in Your Garden:  The Ninth Secret

Carol wrote:  "Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness and it doesn’t mean you give up control of your garden.  Asking for help is a sign that you understand that your garden shouldn’t be limited by your personal strength, your ability to do design, your knowledge of plants or your understanding of plant care."

Proverbs 11:2
"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, 
but with humility comes wisdom."

I hope I'm at least a little more humble today...and a whole lot wiser.

You might also enjoy this post about lessons we can learn from our gardens.

Take heed and take care, gardeners...
Keep learning and growing

Toni :-)

P.S.  All of the pictures in this post are from the beautiful bouquets
I received after my surgery.


  1. My bandages come off today -- less gimpy, here we come! Glad to hear you are healing. Take it slow when you get back to digging!

  2. Good you are on the mend. You philosophical look at your injury and life in general is quite refreshing. Count blessings, ask for help, find new doors open and less complaining. A few good rules to follow.

  3. Many good points in your post - especially about maintaining balance. And I do believe that trials bring unexpected blessings. The point that resonates most with me now is that prayer is amazing. My brother was recently diagnosed with brain cancer and the prayers offered by others for him have overwhelmed him - they have been a balm for his spirit and a great comfort.

  4. Wonderful that you are feeling better, great news. I love your positive attitude and the reminders are priceless.

  5. Nice to find another Texas gardener! Love your transformation pictures on your blog. Glad you're feeling better. You have a great attitude.

  6. Hope you continue to be on the mend. And thanks for the link back to my blog!

  7. Toni so glad to hear you are on the mend...I agree completely with you which is why I blog and what I blog about...my lessons in the garden..life lessons that is...I think we all have a hard time asking for help although we are so quick to give it...I have had to slow down a bit because of shoulder issues from all that weeding, but I have had the winter to rest and hope to soon take it slow and "need my garden" again...

  8. Toni, so glad that you are healing well. You have great words of wisdom! Having such a positive outlook sure makes healing that much faster and tolerable! Happy digging!

  9. Toni, I love what you say about counting our blessings! We take the ability to do so many little things for granted, but even those small things are really gifts.

    Congratulations on losing the stitches!

  10. Toni, this is such a heartfelt post and I'm so thankful that you've shared the many lessons you've learned along this journey. It has been a pleasure and honor to pray for your healing. I came across an email from you the other day and it made me smile knowing I had a prayer friend out there in the world. I'll keep praying for you too ;)

  11. Toni: I'm happy to hear that you are healing well. Just in time for dirty fingernail days!

  12. Thanks for sharing your story. May you continue to heal and get back in the garden! I am studying Isaiah this year also. "...They will soar on wings like eagles..." Isaiah 40:31b

  13. I really like this post and can empathize. My knee is mostly pain free after my surgery but I am still very limited in what I can do in the garden. It is amazing how our gardens survive without us but not us without them. I am quite convinced I need my garden much more than it needs me! Hooray for having your stitches out!! No more itches in the stitches!

  14. Toni-your post really puts things into perspective. I just became your newest follower-you've captured me with your words of wisdom! I feel the same way about my gardens. They are a part of me. Glad to hear you can get back into yours!

  15. I am glad that you are recovering well. You certainly had some beautiful bouquets to cheer you! Thank you for this thought provoking post. You made some excellent points. I especially appreciate the quote from Carol at May Dreams Garden regarding asking for help. I needed that advice!

    Thank you, Toni, also for the kind comment you made on my Chapel in the Woods post. The Bible verse (Num 6:24-26) is a favorite! It is often used as the benediction at our church.

  16. I'm so glad I didn't miss this post Toni! All beautiful words and inspriation. Take it easy and heal, then get out there and love being in the garden!! After I had my back surgery in Feb 05, I think, I only wanted to be sure I could ride my motorcycle again....turns out I was pushing a wheelbarrow before that!! hahaha! There is a place close to God in our gardens.