Gretchen’s Butterfly Garden Journey

Do you remember the Butterfly Garden Journey?

In June, I sent a copy of God in the Yard off to Gretchen. The plan was to share this lovely book with as many women as were willing to wait in line. Gretchen is not a blogger, so I asked if I could post a little about her time with the book here at the Wellspring.

She was gracious enough to send along some of her thoughts…

The time has come for this paperback traveler to go on its way. Neatly packaged with flowers from Laura’s yard, it began its journey in West Virginia–then to me to Illinois. Now it is finding its way to Susan in northern Minnesota.

When I first received God in the Yard, the first thing I read was: You’ll be given options like free writing, writing response, physical and mental play, blogging (or alternatives). 

I said to myself: OH, NO! Then in a brief peruse through the pages I saw: Sabbath on the page (stream-of-consciousness writing)…Blog it to process and share…etc.

I immediately said, NOT FOR ME!

Despite this trepidation, I started to read… 

Really, I was not very familiar with spiritual practice or spiritual disciplines. Worship and prayer were terms with which I was familiar, but spiritual disciplines were something I had to look up. After reading about them, I wondered: overall, was there much variation in my approach to making a place for God in my life and did I do so in a purposeful manner? 

During the time I was reading this portion of the book, I came across a sign on the greenway: DO NOT FEED THE WATERFOWL. It was non-descript (it did not say “do not feed the ducks” or “do not feed the geese”). No…it was less personal. 

I know that if you choose to feed the geese it can bring on a whole host of negative consequences–including delayed migration, overcrowding, unnatural and aggressive behavior, devaluation of the species, etc. They become used to the feeding, come to expect further feeding, and just don’t migrate or delay migration. They just stick around waiting to be fed.

The sign made me wonder…In my observance of my sacred relationships have I become habituated to merely that of conventional modes of worship and traditions with God? Am I waiting to be fed? Does this make me less open to God and would exercising spiritual practices (such as simplicity, fellowship, hospitality, confession, gratitude, solitude, etc) bring a more heartfelt experience and response?

Perhaps my feeding the geese kind of spiritual life has been merely convenient and has lead to a spiritual pattern with far less potential and….with vestiges of what could have been far more. 

Change is scary. Am I a hissy mood-swinging waterfowl when encountering change?

This is where I am after God in the Yard. Still thinking…considering how playing toward God might enhance my relationship with him.

So now comes the part where we send a part of our yard along with the book…

After determining this journey was my own, my life quite different.–no sitting out in nature for an hour a day as described in the book…my yard,  I decided was really the landscape of my life.

Everyone comes to this book from their own yard. So to Susan I determined to send a recipe that I use to help keep my life simple. A soup recipe you can freeze and bring out when you just can barely keep up with the pace of life. Recipes can be like books. It may appear as mere scribbles and words unless there is a conscious process to experience it. Unless a book is read, it really does not come to life. It becomes the experience.

.So…..yes… the pages are finally read. This slender bound parchment has been sent off to Susan who will give this print a warm embrace.


  1. says

    Gretchen’s words, “was there much variation in my approach to making a place for God in my life and did I do so in a purposeful manner?” made me consider…what varied ways could I make place for God in my life and will I purposefully pursue those ways.

  2. says

    oh, i love this. i needed it. such change, happening in my life now… and i too wrote of butterflies for my imperfect prose today… the metamorphosis which happens with change, and how painful it is. your heart loves so big and beautifully laura. (can i be part of God in the Yard? or is it too late?) love e.

  3. says

    I am SO excited for my turn!!! I love what she had to say and I can’t wait to translate this book into my world! Thanks so much for sharing!

    I certainly identify with the “hissy waterfowl part!” Just ask my 3 little kids (under 6)!! Yikes!!

    I have been reading Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence (really old book!) and really trying to soak in and acknowledge Him more in my day to day!!

  4. says

    I love how God stirs us. There is always MORE. I don’t want to be a duck in waiting. I heard a story by Beth Moore about seeing a duck in a small puddle of muddy water. Just beyond the hill by the puddle was a large beautiful pond. The duck had no idea what it was missing. (I am writing a word for me:)
    Sometimes, ok many times we settle for little when God has so much MORE for us. Praying we see God in the Yard. Love this post. You have a beautiful gift. B

  5. says

    I received the book at the same time I sent the laptop off for repairs. Isn’t God’s timing something! There is so much there to ponder … thank you for sharing it with us in this way.

  6. Eric says

    The use of the no feeding the ducks sign was interesting. I felt it was a creative way to help express her view of the book and its meaning to her. A very thought provoking blog.

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