The 18 Inch Hoe

on your kneesAs I was writing my last blog post about my neighbor Rose and her famous sugar cookies, I got to remembering what a character she was and how much she taught me.

Thin and wiry, she was one of the hardest working people I have ever met.  She moved quickly, slightly slumped over as if by making part of her body get there first, she would get more done.

And frugal! Even though her husband left her with enough money to live comfortably, she still sold eggs and her famous sugar cookies in town every week.

She would, of course, never throw anything away if it could still be used, so she would frequently bring objects for my husband to fix.

An avid gardener, one morning several years ago she broke her favorite hoe while weeding. She tore into our yard in her ancient car (she drove like she did everything else – fast!) and showed Jan a well-used hoe, the paint long gone,  with about 18 inches left of a broken handle. It was obvious that she had used the tool for years.

She showed Jan where the handle was cracking a second time at the point where it attached to the metal and asked him if he could fix it.

Although it looked hopeless, Jan said he would try and she could come back later to pick it up.

But when the handle literally fell apart in his hands, he knew there was no fixing it. The only solution was to put on a new handle. Thankfully we had one on hand because Rose didn’t like to wait.

He had the new handle on and the hoe sharpened when Rose returned, expected that she would be pleased.
18 inch hoe

She was not.

Actually, she was quite upset! She kept saying over and over, “But I don’t want a long handle! That handle broke years ago and it’s what I’m used to!”

So Jan – seeing that she would not be reconciled to what we considered an improvement – cut off that beautiful new wooden handle, although it pained him to do so.

When it was sanded smooth – Rose took her 18 inch hoe and drove away smiling.

We just shook our heads.

At the time it seemed like craziness – cutting off a brand new handle because she used to using a broken one.

I thought to myself how foolish to bend over to weed with an 18 inch hoe when you could stand up and use a full length one.

But now I know differently.

You see, Rose wasn’t bending over to use an 18 inch hoe.

She had learned through the years that the best way to get at the problem weeds in her garden was to get right down there with them.

On her knees.

She learned this the hard way, when the handle of her hoe broke years ago.

Isn’t wasn’t until some time later that I saw the life lesson found in that 18 inch hoe.

And like Rose , it took some brokenness before I discovered that the best way of getting at those problem areas in my life is –

On my knees.

How long is your hoe?


Have you ever noticed that when you step outside in the winter all you smell is cold?


That’s why I really love all the smells of spring.

Fresh cut grass.

The lilac bush in full bloom.

The apple trees bursting with blossom.

The lily of the valley hiding in the grass.

The hyacinth that perfumes the garden.

There’s a tantalizing fragrance in the air that excites us! It draws us outside, compels us to open the windows and breath deeply.

It’s a fragrance that we quickly recognize as spring – it smells alive.

I was reading in 2 Corinthians the other day when this verse caught my eye:

Apple Blossoms2 Corinthians 2:14-15  Amplified

But thanks be to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph as trophies of Christ’s victory and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere,

For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ which exhales unto God, discernible alike among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing”

How incredible is that!

In Christ, we’re walking in a never-ending victory parade! And – everywhere we go we give off a sweet fragrance that is full of life!

Now that’s how I want to live.

I want a life that is open to Him and fragrant with His knowledge.

I want a life that is a beautiful aroma that will draw people to the Lord.

I want to be  an enticing perfume that compels people to open the windows of their hearts and drink deeply of the the sweetness of my Savior.

I want to be that sweet fragrance that people recognize as salvation – the exquisite scent of life.