In the Garden


Writing Update

This blog post, “In the Garden,” is dear to my heart, but first I want to announce that Cottonwood Dreams is now available! Purchase your copy at all online bookstores. May I recommend for eBooks?

Want to be a part of the team to launch this third book in the Prairie Pastor series? Join “Gayle Pals” by sending me an email. Just as it takes many people to write, edit, proof and publish a book, it takes a team to let others know about it. Here’s how to be a part of the team:

  1. Purchase your eBook or paperback online to boost its visibility.
  2. Write an online review. (No need to be long or flowery. Honest reviews are appreciated.)
  3. Tell others about the book and the rest of the series set at Cottonwood Creek.

As information about book signings, events, etc. become available, I’ll let you know via email. Look for Gayle’s Pals in the subject line.


In the Garden

As I write this, we’re between Mother’s Day and Memorial Day, two holidays infused with flowers, music, and nostalgia. For me, May is also the launch of garden season. Our garden includes a small square behind the house and numerous pots filled with flowers and vegetables. We enjoy nurturing them all summer.

“A garden is predictable. The melody has already been written, or at least the chord progression,” Richard Brookhiser recently wrote in the National Review.

Baby lettuce

I hadn’t thought of gardens as being predictable. After all, you never know what kind of crop you’re going to get. Still, we believe (predict, hope) seeds and baby plants will grow up to be beautiful, fragrant flowers or tasty, bountiful vegetables.

One of the best-loved hymns is about gardens. C. Austin Miles wrote In the Garden in his basement with no garden in sight. Instead, what he saw was a vision of Mary at the empty tomb as described in John 20:14. The words of the song came to him in a rush. That evening he set it to music.




A May garden promises June roses

In the Garden

I come to the garden alone While the dew is still on the roses And the voice I hear, falling on my ear The son of God discloses.

He speaks and the sound of His voice is so sweet, the birds hush their singing, And the melody that He gave to me With in my heart is ringing.

I’d stay in the garden with Him Though the night around me is falling But He bids me go
Through the voice of woe His voice to me is calling.

And He walks with me And He talks with me And He tells me I am His own And the joy we share as we tarry there None other has ever known. C. Austin Miles


Lilacs in May

When I was a new Christian, I preferred contemporary Christian music to hymns. I didn’t know that when In the Garden was written in 1912, it was modern Christian music. It also went against tradition by describing a sweet personal friendship with Jesus, rather than seeing him as an unapproachable God.

Today, I love this hymn. It has even more meaning in this interlude between Mother’s Day and Memorial Day because it was sung at my mother’s and sisters’ funerals. They were all gardeners. I like to think they’re now enjoying a heavenly garden.

“Kiss of the sun for pardon.
Song of the birds for mirth.
You’re closer to God’s heart in a garden
Than any place on earth.”

–  Dorothy Frances Gurney

While, some of the most important events in the Bible took place in the Garden of Eden and the Garden of Gethsemane, Revelations 22:1-2 shows that there are gardens in heaven, too:

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”

This May season is the perfect time to enjoy a quiet interlude in a garden, park or other pretty spot. While there, let us listen for his sweet voice and be open to his friendship.

Meanwhile, please be a pal and join the Gayle Pals team.