I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Who put the weeds in my plot?




The Ponderers are having a contest. Info at the bottom of this blog...

Gardening is my passion ... er ... obsession. It’s a love I inherited from my father.

At first, I did a lot of container gardening. Pots lined the stairs to my home, overflowing with impatiens, coleus, and begonias - even a few vegetables. That is until the idea of taking seven-hundred square feet of yard space and turning it into a bed of perennials took root.

That summer I wasn’t the most popular person in my home. Did I fail to mention I live in Ohio, where rock-hard clay soil abounds? Thanks to my husband and three strong sons, we removed eight inches of sod and clay and replaced it with rich, dark topsoil. I eyed the empty ground much like an artist measures up a blank canvas, or a writer, pen in hand (or computer on desk), mulls through plot, characters, and the ultimate black moment. I put in four-hundred plants consisting of Forsythia, Daisies, Dogwood Trees, Black-eyed Susan, Hostas, Burning Bushes, Bee-balm and many others.

Eight more flower beds and twelve years later, I have a garden sanctuary to which I can escape. And yes, I’m considering flower bed number ten for next year – but don’t tell my husband! ;-)

So you are wondering how I can compare gardening to writing? A little over two years ago the dream I’ve had since childhood started growing - I wanted to write a book. I’m still not published, but I have written three manuscripts to date. Each time I cultivated an idea, let it grow and mature. I pruned it back, removing poorly written scenes. I weeded out the cliché phrases and added word pictures that bloom into life right in front of the reader.

But most of all I have planted a garden of new God-centered friends ... the Ponderers. Thanks to Susan May Warren and her My Book Therapy retreats, I’ve been able to sow new friendships across the country. But it’s more than that. It’s the ongoing support of fellow writers, going through the same struggles of putting disappointment, disaster, destruction, and devastation into riveting plots, filled with romance, intrigue, and laughter.

Stay with us. Root for our heroes, sneer at our villains, ponder plots with us, but most of all...follow our journey.

Jennie Atkins
http://www.jennieatkins.com/

We're having a contest to kick-off our blog. Leave comments during the month of July and you'll have the chance to win a fun assortment of prizes, including:
1. A Starbucks gift card
2. A signed copy of Susan May Warren's latest book, Sons of Thunder
3. A signed copy of Sara Evan's and Rachel Hauck's The Sweet By and By
4. A signed copy of Jenness Walker's romantic suspense, Double Take
5. A signed copy of Beth K. Vogt's book
Baby Changes Everything: Embracing and Preparing for Motherhood after 35
6. A copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul's A Tribute to Moms
7. Chocolates!
8. Copies of Delores Topliff's children books: Whoosh and Little Big Chief and the Bear Hunt
We're still collecting items for our prize basket, so who knows all the goodies you'll win! Use the word "ponder" when you comment and we'll enter your name twice!

32 comments:

  1. I so love being on MST! I get a sneak-peek at the blog when everyone on EST is snoozing!
    Wonderful post, Jennie! Looking forward to more insights from our green-thumbed Ponderer.

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  2. I would love to see your garden. And I love the analogy of gardening and writing. It is so true.

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  3. Beautiful garden, Jennie! And wonderful post!!

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  4. Thanks, Beth!

    Stop in anytime, Pat!

    Thank you Melissa!

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  5. Lovely Jennie! Awesome post....although I noticed you used the word "wondering." Don't you mean, PONDERING? Wink!

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  6. If only I could grow something...lol. Jennie, you may never come visit me, because I still have the remnants of our attempt at a garden in plain sight. Between gardening and knitting and excel spreadsheets...You all are a talented and diverse bunch! :-)

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  7. Amy,
    I listened to my teacher and she said we should not use the word PONDER! But I give everyone else free reign! ;-) ;-)
    Thanks!

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  8. Ahh, but Jenness, that's what makes us all part of the Body of Christ! We can't all be hands, we'd never be able to walk!

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  9. Ah, a submissive Ponderer. You will never get sent to the corner, like some of us. Just remember, I have s'mores in my little corner of the Pondering world!

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  10. Pondering whether or not I've already left a comment using the word "ponder." It seems so..but I'm leaving one again, just in case. Would love to be entered in this contest. :-)

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  11. I love viewing your writing journey through your gardener's eye. Thanks for sharing your beautiful flowers.

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  12. Lynda, glad you entered the contest because I have a secret. Pssst. Don't tell anyone, but next Wednesday the contest basket will get bigger.

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  13. I admire you, Jennie, because I'm lacking the green thumb. I can kill any plant in short order. Most of the time it's because I'm so afraid it will die that I drown it.

    But once my husband had tended a huge African Violet with massive blossoms. I knocked something off a shelf and decapitated it.

    But I do identify with your analogy about gardening and writing. I weed weasel words from my manuscript all the time. (Wow, alliteration. Sorry, I guess it's overboard.)

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  14. Beth, I'm not enticed by s'mores, but if you were to offer nachos in your side of the Ponderer corner....

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  15. Nachos it is, Teri. Because the corner will be so much more fun with you in it too!

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  16. Let me give you all a clue...its not that I have a green thumb, I grow plants you can't kill!!!

    Oh by the way Beth, Double Stuff Oreos are my favorite.

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  17. Wait, wait, I want smores, Beth, can we have both smores and nachos?

    And good for you for learning, Jennie, about the word ponder. And I beg to differ, I can kill everything from a cactus to a dandelion. Really, I'm that skilled.

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  18. First Amy, in order to get the s'mores you have to get sent to the corner. Is there something you haven't told us about?

    The only plant I can't kill is the Wandering Jew in my yard. But I try, oh I try often.

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  19. Jennie, I LOVED your post about gardening and writing. As I wander down the path of fellow ponderers, I look forward to learning from you all. :) I enjoyed the gardening analogy, as well. It has been fun reading about the creativity of each of you MBT ponderers and how it resonates with your writing. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  20. Jeanne, you're becoming a regular. I can't wait until the day I get to introduce you to all my Ponderers in person!!

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  21. I'm so sorry I didn't reply yesterday, Jennie. Computer frustrations messed with my blog reading schedule. Such a lovely post! Thanks for sharing a glimpse into your gorgeous gardening side. You're my go-to girl when I write my novel about the landscaper.

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  22. Amy - if you kill dandelions you can come to my house because along with a prolific supply of perennials, I have dandelions galore!

    Jeanne - Thank you so much for your kind words. I look forward to seeing more of you on our posts.

    Lisa - don't apologize, remember I work with computers daily. I can't wait to brainstorm gardening with you!!!

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  23. Wow, I would love to see your flowerbeds in person, and love the writing/gardening parallels. Well-done!

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  24. I forgot to say I'm PONDERING how I can see more of your lovely flowerbeds!

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  25. As a writer, gardening has become therapy for me. I'm known for my black thumb most of the time (though I may not be quite as bad as Jenness!), but the physical effort of digging, pulling weeds, & mulching balances the time I spend sitting at my computer. And of course, it gives me time to...ponder! ;-)

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  26. I am looking over the lovely give basket and it causes me to ponder over which I would want to read first!

    journey through books @gmail.com

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  27. My husband and my friends say I can kill kudzu just by looking at it! Your garden sounds like a wonderful place. Wish I had one like it to sit in and "ponder" my next writing project.

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  28. WOW!! What an awesome blog and giveaway! I loved where you spoke about how a garden compares to writing a book...that left me with something to ponder on.

    debracollins(at)tds(dot)net

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  29. No, please. Don't compare. Everything I try to grow turns brown. Don't want my books to die before someone reads them.
    lglazagain@aol.com

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  30. Jennie, I love your gardens...they are amazing. I am struck by the commitment it takes to achieve the result in the picture above. You knew when you started your gardening journey it would take time and patience and hard work. You stuck it out, and it flourished. I tend to be an instant gratification person, and my initial exuberance for something tends to wane with time. This probably explains why my gardens look great until about this time every year...watering is no longer a priority and pruning is just too hard when there are so many other things to do, and pretty soon everything is dried up and ugly. But last year in October, I met you at the Deep Thinker's Retreat and saw the pictures of your garden and I was inspired. This spring, I planted more and made a commitment to stick it out. In addition, every few weeks I bought a few more plants and added to what I already started. And now, as we head into the last part of July when I would normally be looking out at a bunch of dried up brown stems, I have colorful flowers and actual veggies growing. I AM SEEING FRUIT. And now that I see fruit, my excitement is renewed and as I look forward to actually reaping that which I sowed I am inspired to continue the work. I think my writing is the same way...I get excited, but then it gets hard and I don't want to do it anymore. That is the great thing about writing conferences and retreats. They are a fantastic way to refresh us when we are tired or bored or uninspired. And, they lead us to other "gardeners" who can help us get through the rough bits. Thank you Jennie!! =)

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  31. ***CORRECTION: I met Jennie at the Story Crafter's Retreat in October!!

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  32. Heidi,
    Thanks for your kind words. Yes, it is a lot of work, but I have learned how to do it only a couple times out of the year. Growing up my father wanted me to constantly weed his garden, but I have learned the creative art of ... mulching!

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