Tag Archives: Discipline

Have you seen my bulbs?

Daffodils in Ireland

Daffodils in Ireland

I’ve always wanted to be the kind of person who gardened.   I’d like to be able to tell people that I love plants.   In reality, I kill house plants.   I have a plant at the office that I literally haven’t watered in years.  I think the lady who cleans my office waters it out of pity.   The one time I tried gardening at our last house was a miserable failure.  I planted bulbs in the fall. Waited expectantly until the spring.   One….count it….one bulb sprouted but did not bloom.   I think this was due to a combination of terrible soil, clay really,  very limited sun due to tall cedar trees, some nasty moles and the very high possibility that I planted the dumb bulbs upside down.   At any rate, it was depressing.

My grandma always gardened.  She had beautiful flowers every year.   When she got older and couldn’t kneel down to garden any more she went to the store, bought plastic flowers and stuck them in the ground.   She told us she didn’t care if people knew the were plastic because they were still colorful.

My dad always gardened.   He grew corn, tomatoes, spaghetti squash and my personal favorite – lemon cucumbers.     I followed him around the garden, listening carefully and helped plant the seeds.   I think maybe the reason it didn’t translate into my being a great gardener is that really I liked the dirt and water equals mud bit more.

My mother-in-law gardens.  In fact, the first time I went to her house I knew I’d love her because she had a garden full of flowers and she cut some to send home with me.   One time, we asked her about a particularly beautiful flower and she said it was a volunteer.   Yup, she didn’t even have to plant the thing.  She’s that good that flowers want to grow in her garden and magically appear.

I’ve decided to try again.   I was given bulbs by several friends for house-warming and birthday presents.  One wise person also gave me a bulb planter.  Every job has a tool and this tool is amazing.   Even I can’t mess this up.  I hope.   By the time I’m done, I’ll have planted 100 or so bulbs.    There is something inherently hopeful about planting bulbs.    It’s about long-term satisfaction.  No short-term gratification with bulbs.    I was out the other day planting, trying to figure out if the bark dust counted as part of the six inches down that bulbs are supposed to be set.   Stepped in a pile of cat poop.   Our pastor raises cows so cow poop has been known to make it into a sermon.  This may be why when I stepped in the cat poop a Bible verse came to mind.

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.   Hebrews 12:11

My daughter used to suck her thumb.  First time we took her to the dentist we got an earful about this and were strongly encouraged to help our daughter quit.   Bought the pile of stuff the dentist recommended and started telling the three-year old all about discipline and hanging in there even when its hard.   Took about three months but she did it.   I was very proud.   We took her back to the dentist and they went all out.   Balloons, a certificate, the whole office cheered.   They gave her a very large stuffed duck with a matching baby duck.    Guess what she named them?

Daffodil and Buttercup.

I loved this.   Very cheerful yellow names.   Reminded me that in many areas of life it’s about doing the hard work looking forward to the result.

It’s all about planting bulbs out in the rainy dark with obstacles all around because you trust that in the spring blooms will rise.

What are you planting?



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