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Lessons in Life From My Garden

  • Terri Camp Home school author and mother
  • Updated Jun 12, 2002
Lessons in Life From My Garden
In my quest to better my home and myself, I awoke somewhat early today. Deciding to clean up the kitchen a bit to help out my daughter Cathy, who cleans the entire kitchen for our whole family, I began working diligently. I even thought to myself what a great job I was doing.

It was then I spied on the counter a couple of vases full of mostly dead Lily of the Valley. I decided to dump the flowers outside, as is customary for us. I walked out the door and down the front of the house, stopping to pet the dogs and the ducks. Bryan had followed me out the door and quickly had me following him all over our acreage in search of treasures.

“Come here, Mom! You have to see these pretty flowers! What are they called?” He fired his excitement at me.

“Those are peonies.” I said. “And over there are daisies.”

He then looked at a tall purple bloom and said, “I know those. They are called Purple Blossoms.” I giggled at him as I began to feel like my day was off to a great start enjoying my little boy outside.

I’m not a big outdoor-type person. I enjoy being there, but don’t actually think about going there. Which makes me a very poor candidate to manage a garden. Every year I have grand plans. I sow the seeds, and then watch the weeds, as I lament about my poor gardening skills.

Fortunately for me, many of my children love to be outside. Cathy has a couple of notebooks on flowers. I still have a vivid picture of her in my head as a young girl of seven wearing a big floppy hat, carrying a basket full of daisies. Cathy used to sit next to the flower garden and simply smile for hours.

John is more adventurous. He will take his nature notebook and head out to the grove to find something new and unique. He will either draw pictures or bring the actual item for our enjoyment. A few years ago he came into the house with a big vase full of greenery. He said to me, “Mom, isn’t this the most lovely foliage you’ve ever seen.”

I looked at it and realized it was a weed native to Iowa called Cannabis. Its common name is marijuana. We ate dinner that night staring at some lovely green foliage. The next day, I dumped them and sent Steve on a search so our little boy would never again bring such lovely foliage into our home.

We’ve had some enjoyable times together out on nature walks, in search of treasures from the Lord. This particular morning with Bryan made me feel once again like I was on a treasure hunt.

It was then I saw the weeds, great big “I’ll take over your entire yard, then try to come through your window” weeds. It began innocently enough. I reached down and pulled one weed. That wasn’t so hard, so I pulled another and another. It was then I realized how close I was to our beautiful fragrant Lily of the Valley, but the weeds were choking them out.

Working quickly, wanting to rescue our fragrant flowers from destruction, I weeded a path to the flowers. I then weeded all around them. Finally, feeling like I had saved them, I realized they were already finished blooming. There was only one small stem with wilted flowers on them.

I was saddened by what I saw. Those flowers that had been so fragrant were gone. They had filled our senses when we sat at the table. And now their scent was gone. Their beautiful blooms could be seen no more.

I began to think about my own life, and how I sometimes allow the weeds to choke out my very fragrance and beauty. I also thought about the good things I do, which can be overrun by the everyday junk we have to go through, like phone calls in the middle of reading a story to a little one. Or a salesman coming to the door, just as we’re cuddling on the couch with cookies. Even the kitchen screaming out at me.

For the fifth time in as many minutes, Bryan called my name excitedly. This time I went running to see what he had found that was so exciting. “I found one Mommy! There was one left and I found it!” Then from behind his back, he brought forth his treasure, a little yellow dandelion, which was hiding amongst the “purple blossoms,” the daisies, and the peonies. We walked together into the house to find a vase for his dandelion.

While I was outside playing, Cathy had cleaned up the rest of the kitchen. Ashley came quickly to me, “Where have you been? Your publisher called!” I sighed heavily as the junk began to invade my life.

Several hours later, I realized I was letting the junk overtake me, just like the weeds had overtaken our Lily of the Valley. I brought a child onto my lap, gave a few kisses and hugs, and felt once again, that my garden was weed free.

In addition to devoting herself to her husband and the eight children she home schools, Terri also enjoys writing and speaking to offer encouragement to women in an effervescent, humorous way. Visit her Web site at or e-mail her at