Persistent bugger, bindweed. You know this if convolvulus has ever convoluted your garden. Looks like morning glory, tricks you into thinking you want it. And it’s no one-trick venture to destroy this trickster. The box-full below persisted after six convoluted wheelbarrow loads already hit the burn pile.

But we persisted too. The Little Gardener chose marigolds to replace the bugger bindweed. So gorgeous, right? She is! We added bit of basil and some hot peppers for a perfectly useful, tidy garden. (By the way, the edges of my beds are working towards a repeated trifecta – Alchemilla mollis, nepeta faassenii, and Hemerocallis — which I fell in love from pictures of Carolside in Scotland.)

Summer came. Glorious sunshine. Beautiful rain. But, no basil, no peppers, and nary a marigold! Just borage, borage, and more borage! What happened?

Persistence happened. Years ago my beautiful friend Peggy gave me a little borage (and loveage too but that jolly green giant is another story). I was sure my bindweed destruction project meant farewell to Peggy’s borage, but it persisted, and teaches me two lessons. One: if I destroy weeds, the stuff I really want to grow can shine. Sin begone. Jesus shine. I need to dig deep, and wheel barrel loads need to burn. Tough work, but worth it. Two: Persistence is beautiful. Through several years flat on her back with ALS, Peggy persisted in telling every visitor about her joy in Jesus. I never left her side without being encouraged and strengthened in God. Her persistent borage reminds me that things may look impossibly convoluted, but do pull my weeds.

The Bible doesn’t promise a floodlight to show us the whole garden, just enough light to clear our own little patch of dirt. God’s word is a lamp to our feet, we don’t see the whole way, but we can take the next right step. Pull the briers, make room for borage. There is persistence, and there is persistence.

When you hear about schizophrenia, what’s your response? Hand the topic over to experts? Run like the house is on fire?

Schizophrenic behavior can be daunting — the muddled communication, the inordinate lack of motivation and activity, the apparently nonexistent affect and emotions. The lack of social functionality makes relationship difficult, and the cognitive difficulty tends to unnerve. Faced with delusional hallucinations or voices, we hit the panic button.

Questions haunt us. Does schizophrenia reveal a broken mind, a shattered mind? Is psychiatric hospitalization and medication the answer, or are there biblical answers? (more…)

Happy 4th, I hear, standing in the grocery store line with my hotdogs and ice-cream, ready for a fire-worked-up day, thinking, this July 4th, I have told a border story — Reseda.

I hold several in my heart. So do you.

Only Native Americans, with trails of tears and buried hearts and wounded knees, can claim no border history. The rest of us all crossed a border, we ourselves, or generations past. Some seeking. Some suffering. All of us in need.

For all of us, when we stand hand-over-heart in the gleaming twilight, proudly hailing broad stripes and bright stars, it’s there. Need. (more…)