I watched my grandma hoe the clay soil in my
garden. "Don't see how you grow anything in
this," she mused. "Colorado soil can't
compare to yours in Iowa, Grandma!"
I stared at her in awe, capturing the moment in
my memory forever. Wisps of her silvery hair
sneaked from beneath her headscarf as her thin
torso bent down to pull a fistful of bindweed.
"This stuff will grow anywhere," she
laughed. "Even in this soil!"
Although she lived alone on the Iowa farm she and
Grandpa had settled a half century ago, she still
maintained a garden that could sustain most of
Benton County! Some of my favorite summer
childhood days had been spent in her garden
helping her pull up plants she identified as
weeds, or planting vegetables and flowers. She
had taught me that gardening wasn't only about
cultivating plants, it was about cultivating
faith. Each seed planted was proof of that. When
I was seven I asked, "Grandma, how do the
seeds know to grow the roots down and the green
part up?" "Faith," was her answer.
When I grew up and married, my husband recognized
the impression Grandma's dirt left under my
fingernails and in my heart. He supported my
dream to live outside the city, and our two-acre
plot had a horse, dog, cat, rabbit, six hens and,
of course, a large garden. I was privileged and
overjoyed to have Grandma working in it.
Grandma leaned the hoe next to a fence post and
walked to my flower bed to help me plant the
daisies she'd brought from her garden to mine.
She didn't know I was watching as she patted the
dirt around the base of a plant. Waving her hand
in the sign of a cross above it, she whispered,
"God bless you, grow."
I'd almost forgotten that garden blessing from my
youth. Ten years later, those daisies still
Grandma is tending God's garden now but still
influences me daily. Whenever I tuck a seedling
into the earth, I trace a small cross above it in
the air and say, "God bless you, grow."
And in quiet times, I can still hear her
blessing, nurturing my faith. "God bless
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
girl was sitting on her grandfather's lap as he
read her a bedtime story. From time to time, she
would take her eyes off the book and reach up to
touch his wrinkled cheek. She was alternately
stroking her own cheek, then his again.
Finally she spoke up, "Grandpa, did God make
"Yes, sweetheart," he answered,
"God made me a long time ago."
"Oh," she paused, "Grandpa, did
God make me too?"
"Yes, indeed, honey," he said,
"God made you just a little while ago."
Feeling their respective faces again, she
"God's getting better at it, isn't he?"