Stop & Smell The RosesSunday, February 07, 2021
“The pandemic has brought us back to nature. I remember the first day, getting some exercise by walking in the community, looking at the overgrown shrubs and beautiful blooms. I could not resist using my phone to snap a few photos with the caption 'Stopped to Smell the Roses'.” — Angeline Howe-Anderson
Gardening has always been Angeline Howe-Anderson's “secret hobby”. However, as most of us would know and as aptly put by Oprah, “You can have it all. Just not all at once.”
Angeline recounts her garden journey by confiding that the demands of the corporate world and her precious family did not afford her much time to get her hands dirty. Now that her children are grown and are more independent, she is spending more time in her garden. This new lease on outdoor life brought along with it a thriving plant collection and her husband's very thoughtful gift of a shade house.
Mind, body, soul
Angeline is a soulful gardener. With the spirit of abundance and gratitude, she speaks to the healing of the hobby. In her own words: “A brand-new bloom in the morning gives me a feeling of appreciation by my plants for all the attention and care I give to them. I always say they are smiling at me; they seem to be telling me thank you. I've always read and heard of the benefits of gardening. I have certainly experienced these benefits.”
Tipping her hat to the positives that gardening lends to the physique, Angeline describes her physical routine. “It provides me with light-to-moderate exercise…I prune, rake, sweep, replant, fertilise…it keeps me out in the sun where I get my vitamin D…it helps me to relieve stress and helps me to use every major muscle in my body. You need not go to the gym if you do some serious gardening.”
Growing in faith
They say that it's good to plant seeds of faith and that when you speak the Word in faith, you plant a seed. They also say that we plant and water but God grows. These adages are not lost on Angeline, who is deeply rooted in faith and acknowledges the essence that makes all things grow. Her faith-based garden regimen seems to have a little Maya Angelou grace as it begins on the pulse of the morning.
“I refer to my plants as my babies and I treat them likewise. Every morning after devotion, I give them the same love and attention as my family. They are watered every morning, for those that require daily watering and weekly for others. They are all fed with plant food once per week, sprayed with insecticide, fungicide, pesticide, according to good plant care guidelines. The garden is also treated with slug bait…plants are closely observed…the greatest moments are felt when your practice leads to perfect plants and blooms,” Angeline says.
With the belief that “nature speaks to God's original intent for mankind” and that “He gave us the garden of Eden as home before construction materials, frames and walls were conceptualised”, Angeline submits, “The garden is my natural habitat where I experience peace, relaxation, freedom and guidance through meditation and prayers.”
It is also where she is reminded about patience and intuitive belief. She recalls, “I remember in my early years of gardening, I almost threw away a Dendrobium orchid thinking that it had died. Almost intuitively, I decided to keep it and was pleasantly surprised when I observed a flower spike shooting from the leafless pseudobulb. Today, the plant continuous to strive and produce more life!”
Keep going and growing
Today's takeaway, inspired by Angeline, is that we must always stop to smell the roses. We must pause in gratitude with grace. Whenever the opportunity presents and deliberately when it doesn't, even if inconvenient or unconventional, take that healthy and holy pause, if even for a moment. We have to keep on keeping on and find our own peace, our own joy, even when things seem unsteady or uncertain or uncharted.
A final thought from Angeline, the soulful gardener:
“Plants are a reminder to always keep going and keep growing, even in difficult times. They give us hope and insight. They teach us about courage to persevere in the harshest conditions and learn to thrive no matter the negative influences or energies in our environment. For me, most importantly, being in the presence of the plants teaches me about the beauty in appreciating the small things, that in the end, can impact us in the most incredible ways!”
Until next week… have a soulful Sunday.
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