It’s the beginning of the summer season. We’re having a strange-ish summer here in the High Desert. Most days are either filled with a high haze that obliterates the blue sky, or a feeling of humidity we don’t often experience. There have been moments of clear heat, those days that have melted us into the submission that comes with a tall glass of ice water and no more exercise than button-pushing on the remote control.

And in between, in the days that allow for outside movement and recreation… those days are filled with the day job and the errands and the catch-up events like dollar movies and friends and writing clubs and grocery shopping and baking…

What this summer is boiling down to is my List. I have a list of so many things to do in my front yard (backyard, too, but that’s a separate list!). Don’t get me wrong, my yard is turning out nicely with the bits and pieces we’ve been able to accomplish. But there’s so much more I want. Looking at the Big Picture, I easily become overwhelmed.

I’m tired of living on a dirt lot with shrub stumps and broken water lines. I’m upset that the homes around me have color and tidy yards while I have lumpy dirt and a stump that won’t die.



View of dirt yard, stack of bricks and planting pots

Corner View

Shrub Stump and water line


And so, in what will soon be detailed further in a Faith-based Blog post, I was nudged by God to “go back to the beginning”. He reminded me of how I came to own this house I’ve christened Bedford Manor. He brought back those moments of joy and satisfaction when it started to all come together. He inspired me again with the promise of things to come, and the security and beauty of what’s already here.

Rainbow sunrise through trees.

First Morning

I have beautiful plans to turn my Great Outdoor into a lovely Italian-themed desert landscape. I’ve done my research (thank you, Pinterest!). On my nearly non-existent budget, I’ll be dreaming more than doing at least for a while.

But there are two lessons here, maybe three.

First, I can’t do it all. But I can do one thing at a time. I can’t do it all at one time, and I can’t do everything I want. I can’t build a Koi pond in the same area I want to build a Pagoda or lay a container garden. I have to choose what it is I really want, and how I want it. While I’m deciding the Wants, I need to take care of the Needs. The tree stump that we tried to cut last year keeps growing back. The dying roots are unsettling the ground. So I can’t do it all. I can’t snap my fingers and have my yard insta-scaped. But I can cut back the growing stems. And I can drill the stump and keep it from growing back. Making my yard the garden spot I know it will be begins with one Project. And that one Project begins with one Step.

Second, I have Faith in my yard. I know what it will be like when it’s finished, but I don’t know how to get from now to then. I’m (mostly) okay with that. I have little ideas that will collect and grow and join together and soon my little ideas will be big ideas. It’s okay if I don’t see the Big Picture as a reality right now. Because I can still work on the design. I can plan. And plot. And save. And work. And try. And do whatever little beginnings I can do. God has given me this beautiful house that we’ve turned into a home. He answered my specific, bold, detailed prayer when house hunting. How could I not have faith that He will also answer my specific, bold, detailed prayer for the landscaping? I have to admit… I’ve forgotten to ask Him. I look around and sigh and struggle through the weeds and the dead stumps and the uneven ground and get discouraged. Got discouraged. Not any more! Because obviously this yard came with this home that is such an obvious blessing from God. And I believe He will help me turn it into a lovely yard, not just a dirt lot.

The third lesson is the First. That is, the most important. Stop, Look, and Listen. Stop being in such a tizzy over what needs to be done. Look and see what’s already been accomplished. Listen to that creative muse inside leading me to grand ideas. Go back to the Beginning.

I have simple, inexpensive ideas for my yard. The more research I do, the more I realize how do-able it is. I need to finish off the stump and cut down another tree. Pull out the dead lilac shrubs. Level the lot a bit more. Then comes the fun part. Pallets for a walkway and container garden. Rockscaping throughout the yard to cut down on dirt and dust and heat. A simple Pagoda that also supports a bench swing and grapevines. Pomegranate trees to add color and attract birds. Sugar Maples to splash their brilliance in the fall. A hedge of Boxwood along the front fence, and Oleander on the side. A wood deck under the side trees. A new coat of paint on the trim.

And that’s only half my list. But I’m no longer looking at the whole list. I’m looking at just the first item. The one I can take care of. The one I can start with.

One step at a time. One project at a time. One section at a time. And eventually, the little things will join together and I’ll have One complete yard.

And Frankly, My Dear… that’s all she wrote!

My Social Experiment
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