Category Archive: Gardening

For the Beauty of the Earth, For the Joy of Human Love

beauty_rose_hibiscus

I stepped outside to my back deck this morning to soak up some sunshine and warm up from the air conditioning inside. It’s my private little oasis, a bit of a secret garden now as our Rose of Sharon bushes have lost their minds and grown into gargantuan shapes. They are blooming—fabulous purple trumpets open up into pink blooms that feed everything from bumblebees to hummingbirds to hummingbird moths. The roses—hibiscus really—cover one corner and a healthy green maple towers over me on the other side. In between are succulents and cherry tomatoes, sedum and a butterfly bush and a few pots of herbs. And in between those items are WEBS. It is spider season, my friends, and I was only slightly ashamed of letting my small dog take down the first few for me with his clueless waltz onto the deck. I left the webs alone that were situated in corners away from my seat in the sun. From my viewpoint I watched them in the spiders in their homes, now a bit more wobbly in the morning, and hoped they’d catch all manner of little critters. All around me buzzed this incredible world. My deck. My sweet oasis in the sun. Though I’ve just returned from a lodge with a fabulous long deck overlooking apple trees and a deeply shaded wood, I have this privilege of coming home to a vibrant scene all my own.

There’s not a thing around us that wasn’t made, fashioned, orchestrated by our Creator God. From the spider’s ability to build intricate webs to the unfolding of the tiny flowers that face the sun on my front steps, creation has been designed by God. He put all the scientific forces into play, and when I open my eyes and really look, I see how fabulous this world is. What’s even more stunning to me is that God made human beings and that he considers them more important than these little bits of flora and fauna I’ve been enjoying this morning.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the starts, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas. 
Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

– from Psalm 8

A group of teens from church just returned from a trip to Guatemala. And though I’m sure they were surrounded by impressive scenery on their travels, they left the comforts of home for people, for the LOVE of people. God honors this work and wants us pouring out our lives for people. If he esteemed us so much, crowning us with honor and glory simply because we’re made in His image, then surely we need to mimic that. We need to care. On Sunday I was so impressed by the hearts of the girls who shared their thoughts about the Guatemala trip. Sure, this was their mountaintop experience (something many of us growing up in the church experienced after going to youth camps) but it was a significant one because God taught them something through it all. He graciously showed him how much He loves his people and that it’s worth giving up your money, your time, your security to care for others.

Just as there are women, men, and children in Guatemala who reflect the character of God, they are also here in Lincoln, Nebraska. They are in your town. As wealthy as we are here in America, we cannot be blinded to the hungry, the hurting, the lonely, the sick. If you’re a Christian, then you are called to love your brothers and sisters wherever God has placed you. Never be lulled into thinking that everyone around you is fine, that everyone in your city is fed, clothed, and nourished. It’s our job to care for others. Let’s continue to see people as the glorious creatures they are—creatures made in the image of God and esteemed by Him. Continue working for their good and by doing so you serve God.

An Unexpectedly Stormy Monday

rain_01

rain_02

rain_03

rain_04

rain_05

rain_06

rain_07

rain_08

rain_09

rain_10

Garden Babies

tomatobabies

Our Early Spring

I’m calling it: winter in Lincoln is over. Our grass is coming up in fuzzy green tufts, the forsythia is blooming—Livia and I have a FORSYTHIA! call we do in our best operatic voices when we spot the happy yellow branches—and everything is starting to bud outside. The warm weather has come so early this year that I wasn’t expecting or hoping for it yet. It still feels like an incredible and delightful surprise. Thanks, God. I’m grateful!

2016_spring_01

2016_spring_02

2016_spring_03

From top to bottom:
– little grape hyacinths are starting to come up
– sedum looks like small green roses
– our adorable front yard tree is starting to wake up

Below is the front year tree this morning, all covered in dew and gleaming in the morning light. In just a few days time the tree has changed. This tree in particular brings great delight each spring as it will eventually open up in an amazing display of white blossoms. Spring! I just can’t stand it. Every year my heart is filled with the colors and new life. I’m made for spring.

spring_2016_04

Pink Peonies

r_peonies_2015

Spring Affair 2015

The Nebraska Statewide Arboretum hosts this fundraising event every year, and this year Renae Morehead and I had the privilege of photographing it. Plants, photography and Renae on a Friday night? I daresay it doesn’t get better than that. Extra kudos go out to Christina Hoyt who spearheaded the event! Well done, friend! Thanks for inviting us to take part in it.

r_01

r_02

r_03

r_04

r_05

r_06

r_07

Tree Buds & Flowers

fronttree_01

fronttree_02

fronttree_03

Digging in the Yard

shiloh_chair_office

I took Shiloh, our 6 year old Coton de Tulear, to visit his veterinarian the other day. Since we’ve been fostering, I haven’t been on top of many smallish matters of life, so Shiloh was a bit late on his vaccinations. On the phone the receptionist told me to bring in a stool sample. O-kay. All day long I stayed glued to the bathroom activities of the dog—super fun, let me tell you—and finally at dusk his little dog body hunched in that familiar pose. I ran for a plastic baggy and when I came back? He was eagerly waiting at the door to be let in.

Have you ever seen a person act oddly in their yard or out on the street? You wonder what in the world they could be doing? Well, that was me that evening. Not only was the sun well on its way past the horizon but the yard was covered in small patches of snow, thus turning this experience into a real life Where’s Waldo with dog poop. I like to imagine the neighbors saying, “Honey, come see this! What in the world do you think she’s doing??” Because there I was, iPhone held high like a torch shining down on the ground with its capable flashlight app, making circles in the yard. I couldn’t have had more intensity in my pursuit if I had dropped my engagement ring. And you know what? I was successful. I WON! I won the, um, stool sample award? Yeah. Who’s keeping tabs on my awesomeness?

So yesterday was another moment like this one, except more gratifying because there was an end product and less humiliating because it didn’t involve poop. As many of you know I frequently collaborate with Maralee Bradley on columns both for her blog and for Her View from Home. Sometimes Maralee will come to me with a specific need, but more often it involves general ideas and I get to figure out what it is we’re looking for in terms of art. (My favorite example of this was when Maralee and I both received new foster children in a matter of days. She literally ran into my house and mumbled something like, “Now Hulk likes them, now Hulk doesn’t” and that was it. Somehow we made it work and it was one of my favorite shoots because I got to play with toys like a kid.)

I knew Maralee was looking for images of plants pushing their way through snow as they come up in the spring. After searching my archives and coming up with nothing, I went exploring. In the snow. And the wind. In the snowy wind. Snow rarely ever delicately floats to the ground in Nebraska; it usually comes down in a sideways driving-rain kind of maneuver, only it was driving frozen bits flying into my eyeballs. So again, were the neighbors wondering what in the world was going on with Mrs. Tredway yesterday? Kneeling on a plastic Trader Joe’s tote bag, I dug through the dirt and dried hosta leaves and found green gold. There it was: Spring making its way through Winter. Spring! It’s coming. Doesn’t matter that we were having a mini-blizzard on the last day of February or that snow is frozen in large patches on the sunken part of our front yard. Doesn’t matter that we’re still donning hats and mittens to run errands or that my snow boots are encrusted in salt from so many days of winter wear. Spring is coming.

diggingintheyard

I should’ve gotten on my hands and knees earlier. No matter what the neighbors might say.

2014 – Feb 16

babycarrot_mucinexlid

Nurturing in the Tredway household comes in all forms, including this sprouting carrot. Jeremy saved it and Liv has great plans for planting. Spring, come soon! We long to see more growing things.

Tulips

tulips_adam_r

My big brother very sweetly bought me a card and a little pot of tulips for Mother’s Day. On Sunday the buds were so tightly closed that I couldn’t tell what color they’d be, but they opened up charmingly by my kitchen window within a few days. (Thank you, Adam! This gift is making me very happy.)

I’m ridiculously in awe of spring this year. Or is it every year, I can’t tell. Jeremy is frequently subjected to my exclamations of appreciation for all the GREEN. One tree out front appears much larger and more shade-providing than last year and I can’t get enough of the way sunlight filters through its branches all day long, casting flickering shadows on my living room carpet while I work in the next room. And there’s another tree in the back yard whose green branches fill up my view as I walk into the kitchen. I don’t feel like I live on the plains this spring. With a little imagination I live in the rolling hills of California or Georgia and my acreage—just dreaming here—is covered with trees. Livia is even getting in on the gushing action. We drive through an area called Wilderness Park frequently and I often draw her attention to the way the trees are changing and filling out as the seasons change. The last time we drove this path I was distracted by texting and from the backseat I hear a voice that perfectly echoed my own thoughts. If nothing else I hope I’ve given her an eye that utterly delights in God’s handiwork.

Thank you, God, for warm weather once more and a world that is changing in color all around us. Thank you that I now have something new to photograph. Thank you for not leaving us in the cold deadness of winter. Thank you for spring and the anticipation of summer. Thank you that school is almost out and the pace of our days will change. Thank you for rest. Thank you for this season of renewal. Thank you for your constancy and goodness and love, for every good and perfect gift comes from you.