RainbyHER photo RainbyHER.jpg
I have a plan for my front yard. I have a design on a sketch pad. It’s rough, but it’s there. I have my Pinterest board for inspiration and I keep adding to it, refining my style and ideas. I have Lowe’s constantly tweeting their cheers for my attempts at making my house into a home.

What I don’t have is the wallet to make it happen. But I do have Faith. And it appears God also has Faith in me.

If you’ve been following my Blog for more than a year, you’ve no doubt read the intermittent posts where I start to work on the yard, only to, well, not quite finish it. Or change it up. Or start over.

Lately you’ve prob’ly noticed that I’m not taking on more than I can chew. Boy, has that been a hard task to commit to! Because I’m easily distracted by the tasks that get in the way of the task at hand. It would have been so easy to cut down those low-hanging tree branches yesterday instead of just ducking and raking. But I did it. I stayed focused. I’m starting with the One Task I know I can complete by the end of this week. And not having to deal with branches and clippings adding to the mess I’m trying to clean up.

With just half an hour for two days straight, my front yard has gone

From this

Leaves and debris along the chainlink fence in the front yard.

Inside Job

To this

Dirt yard, raked neatly.

Clean Dirt

It may not look like much to you, but to me it’s beautiful. No more leaves, pine needles, bark and other natural debris. Sure, only the front half of the front yard is done. But that’s the point: it’s done! I didn’t make it worse by getting distracted and rabbit-holing into another project.

Cuz trust me… the proposed next Project is a doozy.

See this tree?

Too Tall Maple Tree

Too Tall Tree

As pretty as it is, it’s too tall for me to care for properly. It’s roots are partially above ground, making the yard fairly uneven. And it leaves these pods all over.

Seed pods from a Maple Tree

Maple Pods

I mean… all over. And once they dry up, they puff all over when stepped on. Puff, I say, like a dandelion globe. Cute, you say? Sure. When there’s three. Notsomuch when there’s three hundred.

This is the tree that for about a year, we’ve been trying to raise the funds to cut down. Once this tree is cut and the stumps removed (let’s not forget the other tree stump next to it), my hope is to find a way to level the lot. Next spring I want to line the fence with Boxwood or Photinia. I also hope to plant several dwarf fruit trees. I’m partial to Pomegranate and Olive. The aromas, the colorful fruits, the shelter and food for birds. It’s a win-win-win situation.

But lately I’ve been frustrated. Really frustrated. Because This Girl just can’t come up with enough money to take care of it. Even if I can’t afford to plant anything for a year or two, I still need to get this tree cut down. Because if I don’t, my Housing Project will consist of raking the yard. And only raking the yard. Repeatedly.

Piles of leaves, pine needles, bark and natural debris along a chainlink fence.

Never-Ending Debris

There’s only so much of that you can keep reading about, right?! Right.

Of course, I enjoy working in my yard. I’m reminded whenever I do, that I prayed for this yard. Four years ago, I prayed for a house that was fully fenced, landscaped, has an attached garage, indoor laundry room, and similar to my mom’s house. A nice quite neighborhood. Close to family, work, and Dot’s school.

And this is the house I found. This is the house I bought. This is my house.

This is my home. Our home.

So working in my yard reminds me that I prayed for this. Is it okay to cut down a tree? And if it is, how do I get the money to make it happen?

I know to be bold and specific in my prayers so about a week ago I was just that. I had a lovely conversation with God that went something like this:

Me: If I only had the money, I’d cut that tree down. God, is it okay to cut that tree down? The tree that you caused to grow in the yard that you gave me? Can I cut down that one tree, and plant more in it’s place?

God: Tell me what you want.

Me: I want the money to cut that tree down. And while we’re on that subject, I need the four small trees in the backyard cut down, too. They’re too close to the house and I can’t see the rest of the yard when I look out the windows.

God: Tell me what you want.

Me: I just told you. If I only had the money, I’d cut those trees down. But I’d plant more. So, you know. I’ll still take care of the land. As best I can. If I only had the money.

Cutting down this one tree in the front yard seems to be the catalyst for finishing up everything else I want to do. Even if it takes a few years of scrimping and saving and buying lotto tickets until I get there. Once this tree is down, I can start to work on the rest of the yard.

If I only had the money, I’d cut down that tree and get started on fixing up the front yard.

That’s the moment God gently chaffed me. “Take away the first part of that sentence.”

I didn’t understand. It takes money to get things done.

“No,” God said. “It takes prayer.”

I still didn’t understand. But I listened. “Take away the money,” He asked. “Tell me what you want.”

“I want the tree cut down. That’s it. That’s what I want. I want that tree cut down. I’m tired of puff balls and constant bark and leaves and clean up and overgrowth and too much shade and… I want that tree cut down.”

And then I stopped the conversation. I’m not one to tell God how to do His job, but it seems to me that when a tree-cutter tells you it’s gonna take $600 to cut down a tree, then $600 is what I need.

But God said no. God said pray. Have Faith. So I did. I prayed for someone to come over and cut down my tree. For free. Because God told me to.

As I was working on the yard Saturday morning, my neighbor-across-the-street was walking home from visiting with my neighbor-next-door, neither of whom I know beyond their first name and a polite wave now and then.

After a nod and a “Good morning, how are you?” he directed his steps closer and we started talking. I’m not even sure how the conversation led into it, but after a few minutes I was glancing at the Beast and telling him how I’m trying to remove it. He offered his chainsaw. To which I politely declined. “That’s so thoughtful, and I thank you. But me in a tree with a chainsaw is just asking for a major medical situation.”

He laughed. I’d misunderstood. How about, he said, he comes over next week and takes down the branches, then cuts the trunk for me?

How about it? I blinked.

Of course, he continued, there will be a few days of clean up. Tying his goat up to the front fence should take care of all the leaves, and prevent them from getting into the shrubs under my front window.

I blinked again. This time with a smile and a thank you.

When the goats are done, he and his son-in-law will come by and cut up the tree for firewood. I’ll keep the goat droppings to fertilize the shrubs.

I smiled. I laughed.

His wife then walked up as I was praising his neighborly helpfulness. “It’s a blessing to have good neighbors,” she said. We remembered the neighbors we had last year before they were evicted. They were noisy. Dirty. The bur under the saddle of this otherwise peaceful place. I asked how they could tolerate being so close to such illegal activities. “Nothing we could do but pray,” my neighbor said with a peaceful smile.

As I was sharing this story with Pammom (my dear friend and mentor), she rejoiced with me. She and her husband have been pseudo-parents to me for two decades. I love them deeply. Their sons are brothers to me, their grandchildren are my nieces and nephews. And she rejoiced with me over this story, telling me how “Poppa” has wanted to help but won’t be able to do anything for a few months due to his work schedule. Oh, Poppa! The tall tree in front is taken care of. But there are still four smaller ones in the back that need removing. And he’s just the man to do it.

It was then I realized God had planned this all along. He just wanted me to ask. For so long I prayed for money to accomplish my goals, instead of just praying for the goals themselves.

I’ve learned to not limit God. It’s one thing to be bold and specific in praying for what I want and need, but I was telling Him how to accomplish it. Rather than dictate the drive, I’ve realized it’s best just to tell Him the destination. His route is more scenic than mine… with a few adventures thrown in.

He’ll get me there.

One way or another.

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

You may also enjoy reading:
My Housing Project: What a Difference a Rake Makes
Poverty: My Story
Hummingbird Moth at Lowe’s

This post is linked up with Shell at

The Penny Parable - Part II
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