Photography and Article by Norma Beaird
Finding peace on a front porch. That sounds rather simple and it possibly sounds quaint and sweet, but it's the honest truth. We've said it before in various ways, using different phrases and words, but here it goes again......the world has gone crazy. If we're looking to find peace in a world that has taken a nosedive into hedonism, violence and mayhem, then we will be looking for a very long time. There is no peace in chaos. There is no peace in materialism. And, there is certainly no peace in the world's version of success.......because.....with the world, enough is never enough.
There comes a time in life when we need to slow down and question why we're doing what we're doing. Do we only see a brass and glass world? Do we only see interstates and highways? Or, do we ever notice the blooming Crepe Myrtles or the wildflowers growing on the side of the road? Do we ever notice the buzzing bees or the chirping of the birds?
We've written about birds and nature for several years, and each day, God surprises us with new joys of nature. On some days, it's the Northern Bobwhite Quail that brings his missus into the yard for dinner. On other days, it's the beautiful colors of Coleus that brighten our days with shades of Neon Green and Burgundy.
Coleus, Peppermint, Spearmint and Asparagus Fern
On some days, the Lord blesses us with a collage of glorious color!
The lovely shades of Coleus.
Peace doesn't appear out of thin air. We must live in a way that brings peace to our mind and spirit. This year, in addition to feeding the birds at Le Avian Cafe, we decided to have a front porch garden. We kinda got carried away. After all, you can't stop with just one plant.....or two plants.....or three plants. Having a front porch garden has increased our physical activity and emotional calmness. It's difficult to be stressed when you're watering the Basil and Rosemary. It's not easy to complain when you're digging in the soil and picking out colorful pots. And, you can't be frustrated when you've just cut some Basil leaves to place on top of Mozarella Cheese, on top of a tomato, with a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil on top!
From Left to Right: Italian Basil, Persian Shield and more Italian Basil
We love Persian Shield. It's grows beautifully in a hot and humid climate.
This plant is perfect for the Deep South and Florida
Yellow pot - Purple Coneflower (Echinacea) and the multi-color pot has Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera plant is essential to have on hand for cuts, scrapes or burns. It speeds up the healing process.
Orange Pot - English Lavender
Colbalt Blue Pot - Rosemary (Barbecue - and yes, it's smells like a barbecue)
L to R: Coleus, Purple Coneflower (Echinacea), Coleus, Peppermint and French Lavender (Lavandin)
We found the landscaping stones at Lowe's. We were having problems with weeds, so we cleaned out this area, placed stones on top (bought some of the stones for 84 & 88 cents). The stones work perfectly for keeping a lot of the weeds out and they give the pots an even surface. These lovely plants came from The Garden House in Vidalia, Georgia.
This planting and growing season has also been a learning process. To the left is Persian Shield in a striped pot. This is the rich beautiful color of Persian Shield. In perfect humid conditions, it has the appearance of purple leather leaves. The terra cotta-colored pot in the middle has Electric Lime Coleus in the back and Persian Shield in the front. We have learned that Persian Shield needs to be in a pot by itself. This particular Persian Shield does not have a rich, vibrant purple color. The Electric Lime seems to be halting the growth of the Persian Shield. To the far right is French Lavender or Lavandin (a hybrid of English Lavender).
Moving the plants to more sunshine!
Sometimes, after watering the plants and moving them around, my back muscles are a little sore. However, my spirit is refreshed. When we are connected to nature, we are connected to God. This is not New Age thinking, it's Genesis 1 thinking. Genesis 1 is the Creation Chapter of the Bible. God created the Heavens and the Earth. He is the God of Creation. God created the plants, the herbs, the birds and the butterflies. We can experience the presence of a Holy God through appreciating and caring for His creation. He provided the herbs and plants for us. And, in His physical provision, we can experience a heavenly peace.
Psalm 50:10 says, "For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills."
God owns it all, to include this adorable little frog who was making his home in the pot of Rosemary.
Genesis 1:29 - 30
29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree,
in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth,
wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
L to R: Spearmint in the red pot and Purple Coneflower (Echinacea) in the yellow pot
All of it belongs to God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth.
Red Rubin Basil
Peppermint - this herb is great for repelling spiders and mice.
Spider Repellent Recipe. You will need a plastic spray bottle. Mix 16 ounces of warm water, 10-15 drops of pure Peppermint Oil, and a drop of dishwashing liquid. Shake well. You can spray this mixture inside or outside, around doors, windows and anywhere spiders or mice can creep in.
As much as the American Dream encourages climbing the ladder to success, people will burn themselves out to make another dollar for another day. As people rush here, there and everywhere, many times, they will miss the beauty of it all. They go home exhausted beyond measure and dread the thought of doing it again tomorrow. Mark 8:36 says "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Even though work is very important, we must never go through life missing the things that can't be bought with gold or silver.
A front porch garden is a garden of life. A garden is about life because a garden is about the Creator.
God is our Creator and everything that He creates or touches generates life.
When the world is involved, we will find chaos, confusion and spiritual death.
When God is involved, we find peace, promise and eternal life.
Copyright 2017, Curtis and Norma Beaird. All rights reserved.