Guest Interview: Michele Morin

On Wednesdays in my Meeting God in the Garden series, I will feature guest interviews with other Christian gardeners.  Today I want to introduce you to my fellow blogger and gardener, Michele Morin.

Michele Morin is the wife of a patient husband, Mum to four young men and a daughter-in-love (soon to be two!), and Gram to one adorable grandboy (with another on the way!). Her days are spent homeschooling, reading piles of books, and, in the summer, tending a beautiful (but messy) garden and canning the vegetables.  She loves to teach the Bible, and is privileged to gather around a table with the women of her church. She blogs at Living Our Days where she writes about the books she is reading, the grace she is receiving, and the lessons from God’s Word that she is trusting.

Q: Tell us about your own garden. What is your favorite kind of gardening (flower, vegetable, container, etc.) and why?

I am mainly a grower of vegetables, an enterprise which started during my first year of marriage with the utilitarian motives of bolstering our grocery budget and providing fresh food during the summer months.  Of course, I knew nothing about gardening, so weeding was a white-knuckle affair in which I was certain that I was about to accidentally uproot my whole garden, and the amount of work that went into canning the vegetables came as a complete surprise to me.

Somewhere along the way, I realized that gardening is also an avenue for creating and enjoying beauty, so when I’m hunkered down between the rows of green beans, I’m also enjoying the velvety texture of their leaves. I’m taking in the majesty of towering sunflowers and tracing the vivid green of twining pumpkin vines.

Q: What spiritual lessons has God taught you through gardening?

What happens in my garden every year is an ordinary miracle.  Sprouting seeds are quite unremarkable, really, and yet the mystery of that everyday wonder never becomes commonplace to me.  Proximity to the soil, awareness of seasonal patterns of frost and heat, rain and shine remind me that God is responsible for the results.  Ultimately, He is the Gardener. My job is to be faithful – not perfect.  This puts to rest some of my tendency toward ceaseless striving  – and it may mean settling for a B+ in some aspect of life in which I’d truly love to get an A.

And as I’m weeding around the radishes, I’m probably pondering the tenacity of those pesky weeds– all so hardy and persistent that if I don’t get the roots out, they’ll be back for sure.  I want to let my own roots grow deep into truth, to exercise that same persistence, but at the same time, to beware of all the distractions that want to take up residence in my heart.  Life on this broken ground means that good habits take plenty of regular tending, while bad habits tend to be persistent and deep-rooted things.

Q: In this year’s gardening season, what challenges do you face? How do they correlate with your faith?

This gardening season holds a graduation, a wedding, and the birth of a new grandbaby.  My family is growing in ways that leave me breathless, and yet, truly, have very little to do with me.  Two middle sons who will be in college this fall, will appreciate jars of home grown spaghetti sauce on their shelves, and my oldest son’s new baby will be eating pureed green beans in the blink of an eye.

Ironically, in this season of the empty-ing nest, my garden may be bigger than ever, a means of giving to my much-loved family.  It’s also a metaphor for the way in which I’m trusting God to teach me the rhythms of holding on and letting go, of nourishing others from a distance, all the time realizing that, while it’s not my provision that matters most of all, I can trust Him for help in keeping pace with new (and delightful!) demands.

In growing and preserving vegetables, I am reminded that God is the very essence of abundance.  With my bare hands I pile up the rich garden humus around the tomato plants and recall that I, too, am sustained by significant soil with its buried nutrients, and I am encouraged to trust for grace to enrich the lives of others.

***

Thank you Michele for this interview!  Michele has written several other gardening posts. To read them, click on the links below:

A Watered Garden in Time of Drought

Diligence and Focus: Thoughts From the Garden

Abundance and Harvest: More Thoughts From the Garden

Parenting Past the Mid-Point: More Thoughts From the Garden

Michele’s social media links:

Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Blog

 

Questions for reflection:

How is gardening an avenue of creating and enjoying beauty for you?

What ordinary miracles have you witnessed in a garden?

How does a garden remind you of God’s abundance?

Join me tomorrow for a new post on Meeting God in the Garden.

My book The Fruitful Life is a study on the fruits of the spirit, and my book Newness of Life is about trusting in God’s perfect timing.  Both books are available now on Amazon.

Free resources for these books await you if you sign up for my email list below.  Sign up here to gain access to these free resources, plus lots of other exclusive content!

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Guest Interview: Christie Purifoy

May 10, 2017

Meeting God in the Garden: Beauty

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  • Thanks, Sarah, for your wide-open door of welcome here!
    I love the thought-provoking questions you asked, and look forward to the rest of this series!

    • Sarah Geringer

      Michele, your interview sparked one of the liveliest comment threads on my blog. Very glad to have this conversation with you over the garden fence. Blessings to you!

  • This was such a wonderful post. It was fun to read of your gardening experiences, Michele, and to be reminded to keep an eye for the lessons God would seek to teach us during the season of gardening. Thank you both, Sarah & Michele!

    • Joanne, I agree that Sarah is onto something really fun with this series. I can’t wait to read about others’ thoughts on their gardens and the lessons they glean. Honestly, it’s reassuring to me that I’m not the only one that sits in the dirt and thinks about another world!

    • Sarah Geringer

      Thanks Joanne!

  • Bettie G

    Dear Sarah and Michele,
    Thank you for sharing this great series! Michele, I especially was touched by this today: “Ultimately, He is the Gardener. My job is to be faithful – not perfect.” I say it so often, that God is my Master Gardener, but do I fully live like I believe it? If so, even in this life of slowed-down-days where I’ve come to dwell, I would let go of the “perfection” worries, and just be faithful to what HE asks of me. Your words were such a blessing to me today!

    • The truth is that my garden always has plenty of weeds. It ‘s too big for me to keep it all looking pristine and symmetrical and perfect. But . . . it’s very productive and God gives me patience and strength to harvest and can the produce, so I concentrate on being thankful for that, and not worrying about being picture perfect. (I think there’s a lesson there for me in the rest of my life as well . . .)

    • Sarah Geringer

      Glad you were blessed by the words here, Bettie!

  • Lois Flowers

    Michele, I enjoyed reading your thoughts about the spiritual aspects of gardening. I grow flowers, not vegetables, but the truths about weeds, patterns, abundance, holding on and letting go–they all apply. 🙂

    • Yes, they certainly do. As the years go by, I’m adding flowers and finding more time for the beauty of gardening. For me, though, once the veggies start coming in, if I can’t eat it, it doesn’t get much attention, so we stick with perennials, get them off to a good start early in the season (hopefully), and then enjoy them in whatever state they’re in for the remainder of the season. I have a big soft spot for sunflowers, so I plant them everywhere!

  • Diana Abe

    I absolutely love this line “My job is to be faithful-not perfect” The soil reminds me of the richness of God’s Word where it brings forth abundance for everyone. Gardening teaches me to be the one who waters , and wait for God to give increase.
    Diana from dianasdiaries.com

    • Yes, I love the way my garden invites me to think about big-picture truths, including the sovereignty of God. My husband and I have a habit of praying for our garden every year, once it’s all planted. It puts things in perspective for me.

  • Susan

    That Michele – have you ever!!! She is the persona of Wordsmith. Her words flow like a beautifully orchestrated symphony. I like her too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! xo

    • Susan, I need to print out all your comments on everything I’ve written and keep them handy so that when I feel like a nuthin’, I’ll remember that you think I’m a sumthin’.

  • Gardening has taught you all of that, Michele? Wow! I need to take up gardening, then! ha! And what a gift you give your family with all that you can and offer them–in season and out. Thanks for sharing your gardening as well as spiritual insights with us, my friend! Truly a feast at our tables! And thanks to Sarah for asking you these timely and important questions!

    • Yes, Sarah has a true gift for formulating good questions.
      And what a treat for me to be ASKED to talk about my garden! (I’m afraid that sometimes the people in my life find their eyes glazing over once I get started . . .)

    • Sarah Geringer

      Thanks Beth!

  • Jerri Miller

    Love this! This phrase especially spoke to me, “My job is to be faithful, not perfect.” Perfection is what I always want, while He always wants faithfulness ….

    ~Jerralea

    • Great distinction, Jerralea, and may our hearts conform to His desires, knowing that He is wise and wants the best for us!
      Blessings to you!

  • Michele, I really enjoyed reading about your garden and your family. : ) Thank you for sharing your lessons from the garden!

    • Leslie, you continue to encourage me with your thoughtful comments and helpful observations. Blessings to you!

      • Michele, Thank you! That is encouraging!

  • And that quote, “My job is to be faithful, not perfect.” Yes, that!!! (Sarah, thank you for sharing your series with us!)

    • Sarah Geringer

      Glad to share with you, Leslie! So many others mentioned that they liked this quote too…I’m glad Michele pulled that wisdom from her gardening experience, and shared it with all of us!

  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Michele,
    Abundance….where else do we get a reminder of God’s abundance than in the garden? From one tiny seed, oodles of fruit come forth. From our one seed of faith, what abundance God brings our way. Getting down and dirty in God’s earth is so therapeutic for me. Can’t put my finger on exactly why that is….but you gave it words today. Congrats on all the new blessings happening on your side of the garden fence 🙂 Enjoy!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    ps. Check out these adorable baby blankets my friend and fellow Board member knits…..https://www.facebook.com/thesleepysheepco/

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hi Bev, I agree that time in the garden is therapeutic, especially when I can vent some aggression by pulling weeds. Thanks for visiting!

    • Yes, when I’m picking beans, I try to stay attentive to the handfuls of blessing from one little plant that came from one little seed. So thankful for your input today, Bev. Thanks for the link!

  • I like that, the garden reminds us of God’s abundance!
    Thank you for your kind reflections from your garden, Michele.
    Thanks Sarah for featuring Michele today
    God Bless

    • Sarah Geringer

      Glad for your visit, Ifeoma!

    • Amazing how God surprises us with His provision! Thanks, Ifeoma, for stopping by!

  • Rosanna Penner-Sauereisen

    Such beautiful thoughts about gardening! My Mom grew a very large garden and myself and my siblings had to to spend a lot of time weeding. At the time, I didn’t appreciate it at all, but these days I do keep a small garden (I don’t have much room) and I appreciate what being outside in the dirt does for me a lot.

    • Sarah Geringer

      Thanks for visiting, Rosanna! I hope you enjoy this series…I just posted a new one!

    • I’ll be interested to see if my boys carry on a gardening tradition — or if they’ve been inoculated against it by being continual exposure here at home.

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  • Those green beans look so good — I love green beans. I’d love to have a garden one day (and I’m clueless about the work involved, so I’ll be learning that the hard way too.) Nourishing family from afar is such a different life than we’re used to, isn’t it? Every time my oldest comes over, I send him home with food. Sweet insights into God’s abundance in every season of life. Thanks for sharing, Michele and Sarah. ((xoxo))

    • Brenda, you’re just like my family! I grow lots of things, but it’s the green beans that they love. And this crew refuses to eat canned or frozen beans from the grocery store because they’re so accustomed to the home canned variety.

      We do love to feed our kids, don’t we? I have a friend who is in her nineties and, until recently, she was making cookies for her 70+ year old son. 🙂

  • I have a love-hate relationship with gardening. Unlike my mom, I’m not one who finds much pleasure in the process of digging and planting, but I love the results. I know, who doesn’t? I’m willing (most of the time) to do what needs to be done, because I find such joy in having my quiet time each morning looking over my flowers and watching the birds that flock to my back yard much of the year (with a fair amount of seed in the feeder as bribery). It is much like our spiritual life, isn’t it? If we’re not willing to do the hard work of planting and canning God’s Word for the future, it won’t be there when we need it.

    Thanks so much for interviewing my sweet friend Michele. I never get tired of her wise and winsome words!

    • I’m not surprised to read this infusion of wisdom from your own gardening experience, Donna. I think you’d love this country hill in Maine — does anyone ever stop being a New Englander?

  • Love this insightful post, Michele! and thank you, Sarah for hosting! I have wonderful memories of an abundant garden from my childhood. Unfortunately, I’m not able to have my own – but enjoy supporting the local farms by attending the weekly farmers markets. Fresh is best!

    • June, thanks for leaning over the fence for a minute! I’m looking forward to the upcoming days of fresh veggies as well!

    • Sarah Geringer

      Thanks for your visit, June!

  • I want my roots to grow deep down into truth, too, Michele! It’s so wonderful to see your family growing and thriving as well as your garden! Many blessings, friend. Thanks for hosting her, Sarah! 🙂

    • I’m thankful for this season of life, Kelly. My boundaries are being expanded, and it’s good for me to be pushed outside my safe limits. I guess I’ve seen my garden as a metaphor for my life at just about every stage in one way or another. Maybe God knows I need that extra bit of teaching to prepare me for “the real thing.”

  • Karen Del Tatto

    Michele, I enjoyed so much getting to know you in a different way through this post. Lovely thoughts and insights. Thanks for sharing.

    • Sarah Geringer

      Karen, thanks for stopping by!

    • Thanks for your friendship in this blogging life!

  • Beautiful, of course, Michele! The concept of having to tend to good habits because bad ones tend to be more persistent is striking me today. Thanks for this- you make me want to try my hand at gardening again (fear for the plants!!)

    • Confession: I cannot keep a houseplant alive — other than the geranium that is persevering through drought and monsoon in the spare bedroom.

      There’s just something wonderful about the partnership with God in making something grow and then sharing the results with family and friends that keeps me out in the garden.

      • Ha, well I’m glad I’m not the only one! Go geranium!! So happy you get to garden outside and share in that partnership : )

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  • I wish I enjoyed vegetable gardening. Both my parents did. We had a huge garden growing up. I think all the hours weeding and picking and shelling made me not want a garden when I grew up. ha. But eating fresh vegetables is something I miss! Love this lesson, Michele: “My job is to be faithful – not perfect.” We can apply that to everything!

    • I think a lot of kids have been “inoculated” against gardening by childhood experiences. I didn’t grow up with gardening, but my husband did, and I completely agree with you that the lessons of trusting God with results and resisting perfectionism are applicable to all of life.

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hi Lisa, thanks for reading. It’s lots of hard work, and I understand why you may not want to take it on. I only grow certain veggies that aren’t so prone to pests and diseases. It makes me appreciate farmers’ markets even more, for the hard work they are putting in on more delicate veggies.

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