My Lawn is Not a Proper lawn

No chemical carpet here, but a tousled medley of grasses, wildflowers, and color. My sister echoed my thoughts, when she said it looks like a fairytale. Wandering through the grass and flowers barefoot inspired me to write this:

My lawn is not a proper lawn
It has more other plants than grass.
Some people call them weeds, I know
But here I welcome them as friends.

Dandelions, Buttercups, Speedwell, Violets
dot the earth and add bright color.
Clover grows rich and dark,
 feels cool and soft beneath my toes.

Ground Ivy spreads her purple robe
under trees, throughout the shade;
Blackseed Plantain and other “weeds”
Are lush and green through summer’s heat.

My lawn has life and shape and color
Always changing, ever bright.
I like it just the way it is
And never want a proper lawn.


My yard, still patchy with snow, is bright with snowdrops blooming in abundant clusters. It’s too cold and windy to paint outside, so I cut a few blossoms and brought them into my studio, where I’ve been playing with different colors and styles to capture these intrepid heralds of approaching spring.

Snowdrops rise from cold earth
standing firm against late winter’s bluster,
prophetic blossoms heralding hope


My dear friend Ann passed away recently. Ann was one of the building blocks
of who I am, not in large dramatic ways, but in so many small ways that, when I
think about it, I see her imprint all over my days, affecting in some way or
another how I raised my children, how I relate to Stephen, the ways I pray and
meditate on Scripture, my willingness (that has never come naturally) to speak
up when someone is headed for trouble.
Ann and I met shortly after she
moved to the Ithaca, NY area, when she came to our small house church one
evening. I don’t remember first meeting her, but I would guess that she introduced
herself to me—she is far more sociable than I, and I was probably hanging back,
a bit shy and reserved. Right from the start, she became family to us, mostly
as a much-needed source of wisdom and encouragement to me, a young wife and
expectant mother at the time, but also a warm and loving person in our
children’s younger years, and a fun, wise friend for all of us. One of my
children said he always had a sense of “her support, and a sense of her love,
faith, and very profound kindness when she visited. It seems like she was like
an aunt or grandmother to us…”
And there’s so much more—Ann’s
openness to reading all sorts of books and the many recommendations she passed
on to me, both classic literature and interesting new books on all sorts of
topics. We probably talked about what we were each reading in every
conversation we had. The fun we had cooking together in my kitchen when she
would visit, companionably sharing life. The wonderful stories of her children
and extended family members, most of which in some way or another exemplified
God’s faithfulness and Ann’s trust in him. Her insights into each of my
children’s personalities and strengths and into mine as well.
It wasn’t that we always saw things
the same way, because we didn’t. Ann was adventurous in her thinking and
attitudes, while I am more skeptical and cautious by nature, but we always
loved and respected each other and were always interested in each others’
thoughts. To hear that she is no longer here is hard to believe and very hard
to accept. I will miss her always, but will always carry with me some of the
ways she influenced my life and who I am.
Perhaps foremost, Ann’s example of
faith, no matter the circumstances, influenced me deeply and helped me grow in
trusting and loving God. She was never without Jesus, not just in the sense
that he was always with her as he is with all believers, but also in the way
she was constantly aware of his presence and in open, easy communication with
him. I got to know him better through spending time with Ann. Perhaps that is
what I will miss the most. Ann’s wonderful smile must be brightening heaven now
and I look forward to a joyful reunion when I see her again. We will have much
to catch up on.
This passage comes to mind when I think of Ann and her abiding
faith in God:

the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.
 The Sovereign Lord is my strength;

    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to go on the heights.
                                    Habakkuk 3:

Here are a
couple of poems that Ann wrote on scraps of paper when she was visiting us:

Beneath the Snow

Crocuses beneath the snow, 

do you know- do you know

How near is the sun,

That winter is done,
And you will tiptoe forth
With a sudden golden sound,
Crocuses beneath the snow,
Do you know?     3/21/89
Hemingway’s heroes move me, but not in
the way you might think;
His lovers don’t move me to love-
drunkards don’t move me to drink;
With his anglers I’ll not go a
his hunters not follow the trail;
His men can have all of his women,
women each bull fighting male.
His boxers can box themselves silly,
toss each other right out
of the ring;
When they land with a thud in a puddle
of blood
I personally don’t feel a
Yet Hemingway’s heroes move me to
out with all of my might,
“If I earnestly try, I wonder if
like Earnest could learn to write.
(written July 1999?)