Garden Notes: A Summer Story

Last night when I went running I couldn’t help noticing how the Queen Anne’s Lace is crocheted into all the in-between places—softening the thistle and chicory, weaving delicate places through rough edges.

Since I’ve returned from Haiti I haven’t had time to breathe.

I had one week of home and then we packed the minivan and headed to the sea for our family vacation.  This week I look around and see that the world hasn’t waited for me to catch up. Summer is in full story and my garden tells the tale.

Before I left for Haiti, I harvested the broccoli; did a quick blanch and froze the florets individually. Jeff made a casserole with some of it Monday night and it tasted fresh on the tongue. 



While we were at the beach last week, there was little rain here. My mother-in-law was kind enough to water for me, but the tomatoes still look a little peaky and there were a dozen cucumbers on the vine—all past prime with tough yellow skins and chewy seeds. I’ve been eating them anyway—peeling away that outer shell and letting the cool of the fruit speak summer to my body. There will be a second crop for pickle making.

But the bush beans were the surprise. When I pushed aside their viney leaves yesterday, I saw the first crop—ready for picking. What I love about picking beans is how it’s so much like a treasure hunt. Just when you think you’ve found the last, just when you’ve given up—something new appears.

But you have to keep looking.

This morning in William Barclay’s commentary on Matthew he says, “We hear only what we’re listening for.” If we don’t practice listening for God’s voice, if we don’t practice looking for goodness and truth … we can lose the ability to hear and see it, he says.

Yesterday, I gave into the grief that I am not enough. We had gotten up early to drive Teddy down to St. Mary’s for a surgery we’ve had scheduled for months. It’s the same procedure he had done on his right ear last summer and we were hopeful this might put an end to these ear troubles that have plagued him his entire life. But he woke up with a cold and when we arrived at the hospital the doctor decided we should cancel the surgery. He didn’t want all the delicate work he needs to do on the tympanic membrane to be undone by sinus pressure and the like.

We are all disappointed, but what can you do? It was the right decision. But now some other plans will have to change and our schedule is always as tight my jeans the first time I put them on in the fall.

That afternoon, I sat on the couch and thought about the mounds and mounds of laundry waiting for me, of my family reunion this coming weekend and how my sister wants me to drive to Clarksburg early to spend some time with her. I thought about that trip to Connecticut Teddy and are planning to visit colleges and meet up with his best friend. I thought about band camp starting next week and how school begins early this year. I thought about that article waiting for me to edit—the one that needs a lot of work and I thought about my upcoming book release and how I’m not ready for that. I thought about that promised endorsement that was never delivered, and how I wanted to get my novel ready to release as an e-book. I thought about Teddy’s college search and the Jumping Tandem Retreat and that preaching engagement I have coming up, and all the difficult, heartbreaking patients we have on our caseload at the hospital right now. And then I took Teddy to the pediatrician to get an antibiotic and I took Bonnie for a walk and I fought back tears all day long.  

Because I’m not enough.

And when Jeff came home from work he said, “Just go.” So I go for a run. And I can’t help noticing how the Queen Anne’s Lace is crocheted into all the in-between places. Giving beauty to the harsh edges, creating a soft place for the tiny songbirds to land. And because I’m looking, I see an Indigo Bunting light on a crusty cattail—his brilliant blue a sudden shock of delight.

And today I am thinking that this is how God weaves beauty into life—in the in-between places. But, just like picking green beans, I have to keep looking.

Because He is the soft place for me to land, my sudden shock of delight.


Psst … did you hear? I’m giving away one copy of Emily’s book Atlas Girl. For a chance to win, just leave a comment on this post before next Sunday (7/20). I’ll announce the winner on next week’s Playdates with God post on Monday. 

ALL proceeds from Atlas Girl will go towards Emily’s non-profit, The Lulu Tree. The Lulu Tree ( is dedicated to preventing tomorrow’s orphans by equipping today’s mothers. It is a grassroots organization bringing healing and hope to women and children in the slums of Uganda through the arts, community, and the gospel.


  1. says

    Yes. So easy to slip into the overwhelming passivity of hearing and seeing — and forget our duty of listening (for), looking (for) all the life-giving space that can be found in “the in-between places”. Grateful for your eyes and ears this morning. Your beautiful words became my “shock of delight”.

  2. bmiller007 says

    so true on attuning ourselves to hear…to listen and to look…that line on not looking for or practicing goodness and truth…its profound…one to think on…to practice…

    so you’ve been to haiti…very nice…have a friend that worked several years in an orphanage there…it will def change you…

    we are planning on heading to africa for the first time in october…an orphanage there we have supported for years…we are putting a new wing on it…they need the space….

    it’s been a long time laura, glad to see you are still doing well…

    travel light.

  3. Kelly Hausknecht Chripczuk says

    The rabbits got our bean plants this year, but we’re having good fun hunting for cukes and zucchini. I am SO not enough this summer, it isn’t even funny – we could have fun comparing lists, but I am looking for joy and rest and my prayer is to open myself continually to what is. Thanks for taking us with you on “the hunt.”

  4. pastordt says

    Ah, sweetheart. I am sorry for all the hard things, for the pressure, for the feelings of failure and not-enough-ness. But I am grateful for the Queen Ann’s lace, for the treasure hunting on the bean bushes, for the sight and sound of sweet birds. And for you, and your gentle gift with words and with truth. Of course you are not enough – not one of us is. But it doesn’t really matter in the end. It just doesn’t. Because Jesus is enough and he sees us and he loves us and he fills us and he takes our emptiness and our brokenness and he builds beauty right into all that lack. And I see that beauty in you. Always. Thank you for this.

  5. says

    Ia m right with you. I talked about this at my group spiritual direction yesterday and one of the others commented that summer can be so exhausting. Though we love the sun, we push ourselves from dawn to dusk – much longer now than any other time of year. I had never thought of that before. Time to rest. Time for sabbath. and love Queen’s Anne Lace too – you have reminded me to watch for them. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *