Shared Gardens

Duane and I are extremely happy calling Zion our church home. Because it is so close to our home, we walk daily on the church grounds with our yellow lab, Maggie.

Ties to Zion go back to what we call our “first lives.” Porky Elliott, my deceased husband was a member of Zion when I met him back in the early 90’s. We married here and I had the very sad task of arranging his funeral here at Zion. Duane and his wife Shirley came to Zion in 1996. When they joined, Porky and I greeted and welcomed them in. Shirley and I became church friends and enjoyed working together and being friends. When she passed away, members of our card group were very saddened, we gave a memorial to the bell choir in her name.

When it was time for the handbell choir to dedicate the music, Sherilyn asked me to contact Duane with the date so that he and his children could be there. I left him the message, and when we talked we shared our past and thus became friends. The rest is history! We were happily joined in marriage here at Zion’s Marysville Church four years ago. Our advice is to never pass up the opportunity to offer condolences or friendship.

Duane has one son and three daughters, and I have three daughters from my first marriage. Together, we have 13 wonderful grandchildren.

We have many interests in common. Duane is an avid outdoors-man, which compliments my passion to garden, golf, ski, and snowshoe.

Being part of the God’s Gardeners ministry has become a joint effort for us. Duane and Shirley had cared for the church’s center courtyard, and now we work together to care for both the courtyard and a memorial garden alongside the church parking lot.

Duane and I always hope to get into the courtyard to clean, rake, and trim early so it can be enjoyed for the spring. The tulips are so pretty. As Pastor Ted has mentioned in the past, he would enjoy a lunch break in the courtyard with anyone in the congregation. We make sure the doors are open on Sunday mornings so that worshipers can have a cup of coffee and walk and sit among the flowers.

The garden plots along the parking lot have improved over the years. Marge Stewig and Diane Huston have put in a lot of work, and we also owe a great deal of thanks to Betty Pfeifer, for generously providing for irrigation and the removal of the first row of trees to let in more light. Each plot is approximately 10×10 feet, and there are a number of them up for adoption each year.

It is our hope to encourage interest from a family or two in the congregation to dedicate their time to memorializing a loved one by beautifying our church grounds. Because I have done it for several years, I assure you that it is a joy to do so, and just a little bit of time and effort returns great rewards.

Besides Zion, Duane and I have adopted Willow Glen, the city park behind our home. We encourage you to bring your children by that park to swing and walk the paths. The Willow Glen park includes a butterfly garden, rock garden, the Willow Glen sign area, and a rose garden, and perennials so they bloom spring, summer, and fall. Out behind the gazebo a hosta garden is in progress.

We like our volunteer work for our church and community and we want to share. We live “green,” we compost, recycle, use only products that do not pollute; this all makes our world a little better, and as they say, “sharing is the happy way.” With our story, we hope to encourage and entice members throughout our congregation, young, mature, and those in their golden years.