My husband recently traced my ancestry to England, among Dukes and Lords in the early 1400’s.  It gives me a gavel to pound on my passion for gardening. Why I dream of voluminous gardens walled thick alongside mossy stone; their ancient tales whistling in the wind between the eaves.

My heart races to the penned words of Austen, and the circular tales of family and servants living in the hallowed halls of Downton Abbey. Though I long to be one of those ladies strolling along canopied pathways in crinoline and lace – jeans with holes in the knees and faded t-shirts covered in mulch, that is my reality.

As the crocus and daffodils pop their heads above ground for a look around, it reminds me of walks hand in hand with my Grandpa around his gardens in springtime. 

How he squats low to point out lilies of the valley and dollar plant along the foundation, reaches overhead to pull off puffy pink flowers atop flat branches of a sprawling mimosa tree.

Our knees spot muddy when we crouch down to inspect fat cheeked tomatoes weighing down spiked vines later in summer.  And after morning coffee, the ritual:  scattering the grounds around profuse rose bushes, cutting off blooms the size of small cabbages to bring the beauty inside.

And even though I witness lime green leaves unfolding new on sticks every spring as the sun warms the soil from winters chill, I wonder new in the awe of creation.  This continual reminder of redemption in chameleon leafed tapestries. 

The same kind of awe I experienced one year during Lent.

A few years ago, along with fasting, I added a discipline.  I intentionally conveyed the nice things I think about people instead of letting those thoughts drift around aimless in my cerebral hemisphere.  In emails, cards, Facebook messages and yes, looking into their eyes, I expressed words of encouragement. 

The following year God returned what I did, like a flock of birds carrying love letters to my house on their way home.  A surprise bouquet of kind words delivered to my soul all on the same day.

When my husband came home from work, he found me sitting overwhelmed in front of my computer with tears streaming down my cheeks, drenched in subterranean beauty.  Just like those plants poking through winter soil to make their grand entrance, grace is an invitation to be beautiful amidst the hardness of life.

And each of us, we all hold the inivitation to beauty for someone.

Have you experienced adding a discipline during Lent? I would love to hear about it.

Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in spring-time. Martin Luther