From the Rev, April 15, 2015

Dear Friends,

Here is something I’ll bet you didn’t know: It’s good to get dirty. Recent research has discovered a strain of bacterium in soil, Mycobacterium vaccae, that has been found to trigger the release of serotonin, which in turn elevates a happy mood and decreases anxiety. And on top of that, this little bacterium has been found to improve cognitive function and possibly even treat cancer and other diseases. Which means that contact with the soil, through gardening or other means, is beneficial.

before garden

If this is true…and I have no reason to question this bit of scientific discovery…then after this past week of ‘stay-cation’ Beth and I have to be the happiest, least anxious and healthiest people on earth! We started last Tuesday morning (with the good help of our expert friend, Steve Bos) and worked non-stop until we finally finished this past Monday evening transforming our garden from a garden of mismatched flowers, plants and weeds to a well-planned garden of beauty and delight. We spread 45 bags of potting mix, topsoil, and peat moss; a large bag of fertilizer; and a pallet of cypress mulch (that’s 80 bags, by the way!). You can see the transformation in the pictures here.

Beth and I really had a good time working together all week. If you’ve read “The Five Love Languages” , we had plenty of “quality and quantity” time together! And we’re still friends!


I have come to the conclusion that marriage is like a garden. If we sit back and expect it to take care of itself, it will be in ruin. If we weed the garden, it will thrive. If we water and feed the garden, it will grow. But, if we forget about our garden or make something else a priority, it will die and what we will have is a garden (a marriage) that is a complete mess, a garden or a relationship that is choked by weeds as a result of a lack of care. The garden must be taken care of to flourish. The same is true for a marriage. Tender, timely care and respect are required. Too often couples expect their marriage relationship to grow, deepen and flourish on their own. Unfortunately, many husbands and wives gradually take their mates for granted and then watch each other slowly fade away from any meaningful or heartfelt relationship or commitment. This poorly tended marriage often leads to some form of adultery or straying from the vows that were planted at their wedding.

So let the mycobacterium vaccae release the serotonin! Treat your marriage like your garden. Be good to your garden. Likewise, be good to your marriage. It takes planning, thoughtfulness, and lots of hard work. A garden can deteriorate rather quickly in three or four months without nurturing.

If Beth and I want our garden to stay healthy and beautiful it will need our constant care. The same is true of our marriage. What are you doing to take care of your “garden” today?

You are loved,