Category Archives: gardening

Almost Free Teacher Gifts

I’ve gradually learned thankfulness over the years.  It didn’t come naturally.  For 18 years, my Mom taught me manners, but often I said “thank you”  from compulsion and expectation, not conviction or true appreciation. I knew it was polite, and wanted to be polite, but often I thought that person owed me something, so the thank you was to make me look good.

Afterall, why thank Mom for making dinner?  She’s the mom, isn’t it her job to make dinner?

Then I became a mother.

Why thank someone for a service? They’re getting paid to do it, right?

Then I started working as a busboy.

Over and over in life I realized I failed in thanking others. The biggest conviction came when I studied the Word of God.  Word studies on “give thanks” and “thanksgiving” gave me a deeper desire to improve. The basis of a thankful heart comes from thanking the Lord for our salvation.  Daily we should marvel that the Holy One who knew no sin became sin for us.  How can our hearts not be thankful?

When I learned to notice and appreciate the cost of what I received, financial, effort or time, it increased my thankfulness.

I learned to watch the examples of others as they ministered to others.  One thing I learned was giving little gifts of thanks.  You don’t need to empty the bank account,  pour out from the heart and hands. In other words,  my gifts are simple and inexpensive.

It never occurred to me until I saw others bringing them,  but this year I planned and conquered teachers’ gifts.  You might be thinking I’m pulling a fast one since I homeschool – making my kids give me presents.  They’re for the teachers who instruct my adorable, smart, house-trained kids in a homeschool co-op.

Succulents grow well in our climate and add color to the garden all year ’round.  When the skies are gray for months and months, these babies are always green.  They’re a comfort plant for me, since My mom usually had hen and chicks in her gardens.  This was a $.99 vase from Value Village.

These little terra cotta beauties were in my craft room because I found  a box of them at a thrift store for $1.99.  Who can pass up a bargain like that?  I bought the saucers for our Resurrection craft this spring. I like to plant them into little odd corners between rocks where I don’t want to weed.

This green and yellow plant grows prolifically and brings great color into the fall.  I can’t remember what it’s called and the little plastic identification tag  disintegrated years ago.  Another $.99 pot  I knew would perfectly compliment the plant with no name.

It was supposed to be a quick 5-minute job making the Thank You Flowers. Afterall, I still had flower scraps leftover from the Graduation decor I crafted last May with my Cuttlebug.  Some were  used some to make the Multiplaction Flower Power Manipulative, but there were still shapes longing to be crafted into usefulness.

I couldn’t find my glue gun.  I couldn’t find my 1-inch circle punch. Afater a half hour of hufingf and puffing, my way of expressing frustration, I found everything and glued them together.

DONE!  As long as they survive the car ride in commuter traffic, we should be good to go!

While junkin’, my mom’s term for hitting the garage sales and thrift stores, I also look for mugs with Bible verses  and vintage baby planters.  I also love unusual items, like old tea kettles and coffee pots.

My gifts of thanksgiving were almost free, but they express my heart.  I’m always thankful when someone invests in my children. I want the teachers to know that. A thankful heart overflows in word or deed.

How do you show your appreciation to others in word or deed?

I’d love to hear your ideas, I’m still learning about being thankful!

April Showers….

 …brought a lot of crabby spirits….
a lot of puddles…
a lot of cold days….
a lot of weeds…
I couldn’t sit out on deck in morning with my coffee and my Bible.
 I couldn’t put out the cushions for the deck furniture.
 I couldn’t sit through a baseball or softball game without
a hat, mittens, scarf, wool socks, blankets, and hand-warmers.
We were close to breaking records with the amount of cold and rain.
When sun finally came out on April 23rd, we had “enjoyed” a record of 
56 straight days without an official sunny day.
April showers
finally brought the cliched
May Flowers.
I can’t remember the name of this plant,
but it is finally starting to creep down over the edges of the rock garden.

To some these are weeds,
but they look wonderful along the edge of my driveway.
I think this is a weed, too. 
It just started growing and was pretty, so I kept it.
I know this is a bleeding heart.
It was one of the first things I planted when we bought the house,
because my Gramma Geneva always had one by her door.
I brought this old milk can from North Dakota,
and planted this purple thing in it.
Gardening in the PNW has been a challenge,
because all the plants and weeds are different than what I grew up with.
I’m never sure what I planted and what should be pulled.
But, as I walked around my garden today,
taking pictures of the plants I can’t remember the names of,
I knew all the rain wasn’t without purpose.
Trials are like rain.
They’re inevitable
and necessary.
Someday they’ll bloom into something beautiful
in the garden of our lives,
after we endure the storms.
And when the rains continue to pour down,
and there seems to be no sun on the horizon,
lift your face to the skies by faith.
We know,
April Showers
always bring
May Flowers,
because the
will shine.