Originally published July 2018
I grew up on a farm at Pelican Rapids, Minnesota, and went to a small country church. Church was always a part of our Sundays and a big part of our life. I think the person that impacted my faith the most was my Dad.
Gardening has always been a part of my life. Growing up we always had a big garden. After I was married and we moved to Rockford, we had room for a big garden, and then the kids had gardens in 4-H. I used to freeze many vegetables. When the Garden Exchange was started at Zion it was perfect for me to share the extra produce that I had from the garden. I start my tomato, pepper and broccoli plants indoors. I enjoy watching the different vegetables grow. It’s discouraging to have the rabbits, deer, woodchuck, etc. destroy part of your crop. Gardening is good exercise and I enjoy being outside. I’m blessed with a neighbor who hauls manure on it in the fall and tills it in the spring. When you are weeding, mowing lawn, picking berries, etc., it’s a good time for praying. I’m sure I’ll continue to enjoy gardening as long as I’m healthy enough to do it.
After I retired from Park Nicollet Clinic, I joined the Naomi Circle. It’s one way to get to know other women in our church and to study the Bible. Another thing that I have enjoyed is being a Prayer Sister. It’s nice to know that someone is praying for you each day. Harvest of Hands has always had a special place in my heart … making crafts at home, making jams and pickles and then baking. It is for such a good cause. I enjoy helping set up for the “white elephant” rooms too. I have anyways enjoyed sewing, so when Flora Mohring was in charge of the quilting, I started sewing quilt tops at home, which I continue to do. Now I come on Monday mornings to help put the quilts together, which I enjoy. One of the things I enjoy most is spending time with my grandchildren.
One of my favorite Bible verses is Is.41:10
Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
This was especially comforting when my husband passed away and also when my granddaughter, Sophia, had her heart surgeries. One of my favorite hymns is “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” There are so many Bible verses and hymns that express praise, thanksgiving, comfort, etc. I love the benediction that the choir sings “Go Now in Peace,” a perfect ending to a service.
Marlys invites gardeners with extra produce to join her in bringing it in to the Garden Exchange table near the church office on Sundays mornings throughout the season, probably beginning around the end of June or early July. Gardeners donate extra produce to share with others at Zion … fresh, local food is available to anyone who can use it … and free will donations support ELCA World Hunger.